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Be a Better Bidder: Auction Sales

May 25, 2008
If you're a bargain hunter looking for great deals on unique items, try your local auction sale. Bidding is not only fun, it's a great way to bag a big bargain.

There are rural auctions featuring livestock and equipment, free-wheeling automotive auctions where the rich and famous bid on rare and classic cars and Internet auctions where bargain hunters shop from the comfort of home, antique auctions and more. All of these bring excitement, whether you're placing a bid or just biding your time as a spectator.

Every auction is based on the premise of a group of buyers bidding on sale items. The items are presented for sale individually, sometimes with set starting amounts, and the bidding begins. Potential buyers increase their bid amounts and the selling price gradually goes up. Then, when the gavel drops, the highest bidder is declared "winner" of that item. Another item is then placed on the auction block and the action continues. Auction sales can be very good forums for determining the real value of particular items, especially when collectors are involved. When people really want certain items, money is sometimes no object at all.

Of the many types of auctions, the basic premise is the same. However, each type of auction has specific rules and regulations in place:

* English Auctions: The granddaddy of all auction sales, this is the basic style that pits bidders against each other in an open forum. The item goes to the person who bids the highest amount.

* The Dutch Auction: Basically the opposite of an English auction, this kind of sale has the auctioneer offering each item at a premium price, and then lowering the price incrementally until someone agrees to pay that amount. It can be a stressful game of chance, causing buyers to jump in and pay too much, rather than lose the item to someone else at the next lower price. It only takes one bid to end the sale, so Dutch auctions can be practical ways to sell items quickly.

* Sealed First Price Auction: In this kind of auction, all potential buyers place their bids simultaneously, but no one knows the bid amounts of the other participants. The person who bids the highest amount gets the item for his or her suggested price.

* Vickey Auction: In a vickey auction, a bargain hunter gets a little more of a bargain. The person who bids the highest price wins the item, but only has to pay the second highest amount.

* The Buy-out Auction: A buy-out auction is similar to an English auction, with goods offered for sale at predetermined prices. The auction begins, and anyone wishing to pay full price may do so. The preset amount is sometimes known as the "buy now" price. If no one wishes to pay the full price, open bidding will begin. The highest bidder will take the item.

* The Open Outcry Auction: This is the type of auction usually seen in the stock and commodities markets. An open outcry auction involves lively trading at every corner of the arena. With the ever-increasing popularity of the Internet and modern communications, this type of auction is being replaced by electronic trading platforms operating over the worldwide web.

Auction sales can offer buyers a quick and easy avenue to pick up all kinds of items. Collectibles, real estate, antiques, cars, artwork and countless other commodities, both new and used, are put on the block and available to the highest bidder. These types of sales draw crowds of interested buyers, and the auction action can quickly heat up when more than one buyer is determined to win the prize. The competition can be fierce, and final sale prices can easily exceed the actual values.

Qualified auctioneers, hired for a flat fee or a predetermined percentage of the proceeds, lead most auctions. These professionals are able to offer information about the community and its buying preferences, as well as providing hints on obtaining the highest price for one's property.

Most American auctioneers are licensed by their state, following a series of oral and written examinations. Auctioneers must be reliable, with proven integrity and a good reputation. Running an auction is a big job that involves publicizing the event and resolving any disputes or conflicts that may arise during the sale.

When mall walking gets a little dull flea markets fall a little flat, try searching for treasures at an auction sale. The excitement can run high, and you just might bag a real bargain on a true treasure.
About the Author
Author Ardis Myles provides material for several web sites, on online home business and driver downloads topics.
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