The Auction Experience

Whether it be fine art or appliances, vintage clothing or patio furniture, Victorian jewelry or a riding mower, if you need it or want it…. you can most likely find it at an auction.
Auction houses across the country are experiencing record numbers in attendance as the Millennials are discovering this a great way to buy on a budget. If you are considering your first venture into the world of “bidding to buy” here are a few terms and tips to help make your visit a pleasant one.
Bid Number Card — The first order of business is to obtain a bid number from the buyer check-in {picture ID required}. This is also a good time to verify the forms of payment accepted. Most major auctions accept credit/debit cards and some will take a personal check and a few are cash only.
Preview — This is an opportunity to view and personally examine the items up for auction before the bidding starts. Normally this time will be one hour prior to the auction, but there are cases in which the preview is held the day before. Trying to view items that are in the process of being auctioned blocks the view of other bidders and is strongly discouraged.
Buyer’s premium — A buyer’s premium is a percentage of the winning bid that will be added to your total at checkout. It is now charged by most auction houses and is used to cover administrative expenses. The standard percentage in this area is 10 percent.  Make certain to allow for this charge when you are bidding so there are no surprises at checkout when you believe you have spent $500 and you are charged $550. Fine art auctions sometimes charge as high as 15-20 percent so, if in doubt, ask before you bid.
As is — Items are sold in the condition in which the auction received them. Remember this is often used merchandise and it is the buyer’s responsibility to make certain it is in good condition. Most auctions will attempt to point out if something is damaged, but ultimately it is your responsibility.
Absolute — This means that all items on the action will be sold to the highest bidder, no matter what the top bid.
Reserve — There are some auctions (cars, art, etc.) that will have items with a reserve. This means the item must hit a certain predetermined number or it will not sell
Removal of items — Be ready to haul your purchase. There is an adrenaline rush that sets in when you start bidding that can void the common sense gene. I have, on more than one occasion, watched a buyer try to cram an 8 foot sofa into a hatchback. Remember, you are responsible for the timely removal of anything you purchase. Most do not deliver and if they do there will be an extra charge.
The major auctions in Central Indiana have websites and/or Facebook pages with information about their upcoming sales. If you don’t have a specific facility in mind you can view the ones in your area at  This site allows you to enter the number of miles you are willing to travel and then presents you with a list of the auctions available. You can then go to each site for full details and pictures of the items to be offered.  Until next time…Linda

Irvington resident Linda Kennett is a professional liquidation consultant specializing in down-sizing for seniors and the valuation and liquidation of antiques and may be reached at 317-258-7835