Bidding at Live Antique Auctions (17639)

So, you've found an item that you want at a live antique auction. You've looked through the catalog, seen it online, and gone to the preview to examine this fine treasure in person and you have to have it. You ask how much, but the auction staff tells you it's not for sale; it's for auction. If you want to win this item then you're going to need to know how to bid at a live antique auction.

Bidding Can Be Confusing

Bidding at live antique auctions can be confusing for some people if you've never done it before. Everything can seem like it's happening too fast. The auctioneer usually talks fast and the bidding usually goes fast, so if you're not paying attention you might miss out on what you came for. The trick is to pay attention, have a keen ear to pick out the numbers being hollered, and have a good idea of the amount you're willing to go up to on the item you're interested in. This will really help you to process new information faster and stay in the game when you're bidding.

The Act of Bidding

Now, when you're item comes up and you're ready to bid all you need to do is put your bidder's number in the air. Hold your arm up high and let the auctioneer see your bidders number and then take it down once you've been acknowledged. That's it. It's easy. Don't hold it up, though, or someone will 'whack' you or bid against you just so you have to pay more. As an experienced bidder you will someday see a less savvy rookie bidder holding their card up until they win an item and you'll be able to 'whack' them.

Open the Bidding!

The auctioneer will typically start out asking the audience to open the item (start the bidding) at a particular price. He may say something like 'Someone start the bidding at $500. Who'll give me $500? $500? $500?' You don't want to bid now and you'll notice no one else typically bids now either. This is because the auctioneer is throwing out a price that he thinks an item should be worth (or would like to get for it), but if no one bids he will be forced to drop the price down and you'll be able to open up the bidding somewhere between 50% - 75% of what he initially was asking to start.

In the Action

Once the bidding has opened it will usually continue in uniform or incremental increments. You'll hear the auctioneer say 'I've got $500. Someone give me $550. $500... $550. $500... $550... I've got $550. $550...$600 Who'll give me $600... $550...$600... I've got the six... six... six-fifty' and so one and so forth. What the auctioneer 'has' is the current bid and what he's asking for is the next amount that you'll get in the bidding at. For example, if he has $500 and he's asking for $550 you would raise your bid card and be in the bidding at $550.00. If no one else bids you win the item. If someone else bids for the next increment of $600 then you'll have to decide if you want to stay in the bidding and bid $650 or if you want to drop out of the bidding at $600.

Cutting the Bid

Another option when bidding is to cut the bid. Cutting the bid literally means to cut the bid in half. So, if the auctioneer has $400 and he's asking for $500, but you only want to pay $450 you can cut the bid which is a way of asking the auctioneer if he'll half the bid increment for you.

To cut bid is very similar to bid regularly. The difference is that when you hold your bidders number up you're going to hold it sideways and make a motion like you're cutting the air in front of you. It's almost as if you were making a flamboyant horizontal brush stroke with a paintbrush in a back and forth motion.