Collecting Treasures: The experience can be likened to the most popular roller coaster at the amusement park
Notice how we didn’t use the word “auction” in the headline. That’s because many of you reading this either have never been to an auction or you have a misconception about the quality of items you’ll find at auction.
But the fact is, attending a live auction in person is not only fun, you can score some major deals on new or slightly used items. Everything from your typical household items, to rare antiques, jewelry and fine art, to cars and motorcycles — really, these days, you can find anything you need or desire at auction
“Yeah, but the bidding part seems intimidating.”
I hear this a lot, and every first-time bidder who felt apprehensive before raising his or her bidder paddle always says, “Wow, that was fun.”
I liken the experience to the most popular roller coaster at the amusement park. You’re standing in line looking at it and feeling nervous, and then after you experience the exhilaration of the ups, downs and crazy curves, you want to get back on line and do it again.
Ready to jump on and get that treasure? Here are five tips:
- Do your homework: Inspect the items you want and have an amount already set of what you’re willing to spend. Most auction houses have preview days so you can inspect the items prior to auction day and also research its value on the Internet. When reviewing your budget, remember to calculate the auction house’s buyer’s premium, sales tax and any delivery charges that may apply.
- Find a good spot: After you’ve registered to bid — which is a simple, free, process — choose a location where you can watch the action and make direct eye contact with the auctioneer or one of the ringmen (or spotters) working the floor. The ringman is there to assist the auctioneer in recognizing bidders trying to bid.
- Speak up: Auctions are fast-paced and missing a bid is easy. If you know the auctioneer isn’t seeing you, simply speak up with a loud “yes” or a “here.” Remember, the auctioneer doesn’t want to miss your bids. His job is to attain as much for the items as possible.
- Watch for competitive bidders: Part of the fun of an auction is getting into a bidding frenzy. Serious bidders, like “The Intimidator,” will stare you down while holding his number high. “The Gloomer” will degrade an item before you bid on it to discourage you from bidding and then he’ll bid at the last minute to secure the item. Then there’s “The Friend,” who wants to become instant best buddies with you so you’ll feel badly about bidding against him or her. Don’t fall into any of these traps.
- Have your bidding number ready: Once the auctioneer announces you are the winner, show him your number immediately. Don’t keep it tucked away in a pocket or purse or it will slow down the auction. And remember, once the item is sold, it’s sold. There’s no changing your mind.
Feeling better about the auction process? There are a lot of treasures out there with your name on it! Now, go get registered and start bidding!