Bidding Tips And Help: How Not To Over Bid At Estate Auction

Learn how not to over bid on those collectibles we find at estate auctions.

Estate auctions are a great place to find those wonderful collectibles. But it is very easy to get caught up in the competition when someone else is bidding against you. With the attitude "I have to have that", when there are several bidders bidding on the same item, it's easy to end up over paying.

You can curb over spending before you ever arrive at the auction by doing one simple thing: take only a certain amount of money with you, and leave the checkbook at home. Most auctions only accept cash and checks with proper ID. Set your spending limit before you leave home. Then, arrive early enough to look over the items. Check for damage such as cracks and missing parts. It's helpful to have a small notebook to jot down the items you are interested in, as most will have lot numbers. Make a judgment call to yourself as to what the item is worth. Make a note of the highest price you would be willing to pay, and then stick to it!

The auctioneer will try to get the highest price possible, since that is his job. Most times they start by asking a fairly high price. Be patient. Only foolish bidders jump in at the auctioneer's first offer. If the auctioneer is asking for five dollars and no one bites, offer to start the bidding out at one or two dollars. Often you may end up with the item for much less than anticipated.



Many auctions are fast paced. You must get the attention of the auctioneer or you stand the chance of being overlooked. Once you start bidding be cautious and pay attention. A slight nod of the head is all it takes for the auctioneer to take your bid once they have you spotted for that item. Many times the auctioneer will ask for a five to ten dollar jump in bid price. You can, and should offer half that. Example: The current bid is $20.00. The auctioneer is now asking for a bid of $25.00, so you offer $22.50.

When bidding on choice ask yourself do you want all the items? The answer may be yes, but it's not always smart to take them all for the first bid price. If the backup bidder does not take the items, they go back on the block, and most times you will be able to get the items at a much lower price second time around.

Box lots can be very fun to bid on. If your not sure of the contents before hand, your taking a chance. I have found wonderful surprises and have also been disappointed when the contents were not what I thought them to be. If there is one special item in the box you have your eye on and the price goes too high, let it go. Then approach the winning bidder and make an offer on the item you want. Many times they will gladly sell an item, as it may not be the piece that they were intrigued with.

Last, but not least, have fun! Talk to others, enjoy the atmosphere, and learn to say "next time!" Happy bidding....

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