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An Auction Guide


General Information - Index


  • In an auction there are many players. The auctioneer; feeder; runners; a clerk to take the bidders number, item description and bid amount; and any additional clerk(s) to process the 'tickets'  (separate, calculate and take payments). Most auction houses have a small concession stand for refreshments and snacks. Usually the concession stands are run by civic institutions, local groups or charities. But not in every case.

  • In estate or household auctions the auctioneer will pick up the items for sale or have an 'on site' auction. Consignments of goods are generally accepted at all auctions, unless otherwise stated.

  • All rent, advertising fees (mail, local newspapers, local radio, auction signs and banners) and bathroom facilities are the responsibility of auctioneer, as well as, the setting and displaying of the items for sale. Which includes: overall display of items for sale, localizing higher ticketed items, providing adequate cover (indoors and outdoors), providing adequate ventilation and heating (winter), cleaning items (mostly household and estate auctions), clean up at the end of the auction, payment of the hired help, collection of money from buyers, and payment to the consignees (sellers). As you can tell it is a lot of work and expense.

  • Commissions are charged to cover the expenses as well as payment for services rendered. Commission rates for selling items vary from auction to auction. Usually 25 - 35% is charged for household or estate auctions, as well as, consignments. Most auction houses have a graduated commission rate. Which means the more money an item brings, the lower the commission. Auction houses will offer this lower rate as a means to attract better quality items. In this respect, an auctioneer can sell a higher quality item, in less time and make just as much money, than say, a small table of household goods which can take 10 minutes to sell.

  • Some auction houses charge a 'buyers premium'. Some of these can be as high as 20%. This is a percentage of the total amount that you (the buyer) pay for each item and which is added to the total amount of your receipts at the end of the auction. This amount is in addition to sale tax (if applicable). I personally don't like the idea of charging people extra to buy items at auction. The only people to benefit from this are the auction houses themselves, and they loose in the long run. The sellers receive less money, because people spend less on the item to make up for the 'buyers premium' and people like myself, stay away from these auctions, which means lower overall prices. Even the concession stand makes less money. Nobody wins in this game. The seller loses money and the auction house loses potential customers. Now, a few exceptions do exist for this type of auction, but only at higher end auction houses, which are prohibitive to all but the fortunate few who make enough money to buy everything they want. My advise to all, don't patronize an establishment that charges a 'buyers premium'. Maybe they will get the message.

  • Navigation is accomplished by using the main menu on the left. Just click on the red help book next to the words Auction Guide and the topics will unfold. Or you can use the index below.



Copyright Information 


  • This reference is here for informational purposes only.

  • This guide may be freely distributed providing that I have been credited as the author, and a link to this website has been placed on each chapter. Thank You.

  • I would appreciate an email if you did use excerpts from this guide. But it's not necessary.

  • Written and Copyrighted 1997-2001 by Stan Daniloski,  Earth Station 9.



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