Top Tips for Attending your First Auction

Top Tips for Attending your First Auction

There’s no doubt about it – attending your first auction can be rather daunting!  For novice bidders and buyers just starting to build their collections, the thought of going to an auction and working up the courage to bid on your favourite items could be quite overwhelming, so our team has assembled some top tips for attending your first auction and ensuring that bag yourself those items you’ve had your eye on!

  1. Know the method you are going to pay by

Before attending the auction, make sure that it accepts the method in wish you intend to pay, whether by credit card, cheque or cash. It might be a good idea to ask about deposits and extra charges, too. You don’t want to be caught out with no money after you’ve won that item of your dreams! Some auctions may make you put down a refundable deposit when you register to bid whilst for some a buyer’s premium may be added to the hammer price (your winning bid.) Our auction house accepts all methods of payments including debit card, credit card, cheque, cash and bank transfer. Buying fees are 18% plus VAT, and VAT is only against the fees – never on the hammer price. It is always important to read the terms and conditions from any auction house, as they may differ.


  1. Inspect the goods before hand

Why auction for something that you haven’t seen properly? If you’re able, we always recommend stopping in for the preview before the auction so you can get up-close to the items you plan to bid on.  If that’s not an option, you can always browse our online auction catalogue pre-sale so you’re familiar with the items, and ensure you make note of the lot numbers of your favourite items to avoid bidding on the wrong piece! If you are unable to view the item in-person, we are always able to send full condition reports of any item, plus additional photos if required before you place your bid.


  1. Come prepared

Depending on what you buy at your first auction, ensure you’ve come prepared! If you have use of a van, truck, or a car with a large boot, it’s better to have too large of a vehicle than not enough space to put your spoils (although, if you do accumulate more than planned, don’t worry – we offer shipping services to help you get your goods home).  Don’t forget to also bring plenty of blankets and towels to wrap your items, bubble wrap for the smaller pieces, and string or rope should any items need to be tied into your car to avoid damage in transit.  Do not worry about lifting and packing items, as there is always a porter on hand to help during and after an auction. Auctions can also be long affairs, so bring a snack and some water if you think you’ll be there for the long haul, or take advantage of our complimentary homemade baked goods for guests!


  1. Set a maximum price

Before you step foot in the auction house, set a price that you are willing to pay for each item and stick to it. It may be easier said than done if that lamp you wanted so badly is auctioned above your budget, but try to keep within your budget or you may regret it. If your willpower is weak, bring a friend to prevent you from bidding too high, or limit the amount of cash you bring with you. Don’t be afraid to try one more bid though if you’re keen to win an item, as that could be your winning bid!

  1. Don’t be shy

Talk to the auctioneer about the item or items you’re interested in; ask about the history of them and his own personal opinion. Victor has 40 years of experience and enjoys sharing his knowledge and passion and is a valuable resource when you’re planning your bidding strategy.


  1. Be logical

Part of being a successful bidder comes down to your poker face and ability to keep cool.  Don’t shout out your maximum bidding price as soon as the bidding begins. If you do this, you may have to pay your maximum budget or – even worse – someone else might bid higher beyond your price range.


  1. Be quick

If an item you want is on the block, remember to remain calm and at the right time to place your bid with a gentle raise of your bidding card. Auctions are fast paced and if you hesitate too long then your item could be gone!

  1. Be sure of what you want

In auctions you need to be decisive. If you win the bid, you are committed to purchasing that item, so be sure that you want it first! Make sure you want an item for the right reasons rather than letting your competitive spirit get the best of you and entering into a bidding war. You could end up seriously regretting it when you’re forced to pay a high price for something you don’t want that badly!


  1. It’s okay to move!

Many first-time bidders sit on their hands or are afraid to move whilst bidding is taking place.  We advise our guests to trust the auctioneer’s instinct – he knows when you have placed a bid and won’t miss-judge that yawn for a bid!


These top tips should help you enter your first auction with confidence.  Remember that an auction should be a fun way to buy unique pieces and build your personal collection– so try not to take it too seriously!

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