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We are often asked various questions by absentee bidders after a sale regarding why they did or didn't get an item they bid on. We would like to clarify how absentee bidding works so strategies may be altered to maximize effectiveness.
First, absentee bidders are bidding against other absentee bidders as well as the bidders in attendance. If two absentee bids are received for the same amount, the one received first takes precedence. If two or more absentee bids are received for a particular item (which is usually the case) we open the bidding at one increment above the lower bid. Example.. bidder "A" bids $375 and bidder "B" bids $450 on the same item, the bidding will open at $400 and the floor competes from there. If bidder "A" bid $450 and bidder "B" bid $450+, the bidding would open with bidder "B" at $475. This brings us to another situation. Absentee bidders sometimes use odd bidding techniques for example bidding $401 or $51 or $76. This is normally much more of a disadvantage than an advantage for the following reasons. A $400+ beats $401 or even $410 for that matter because the smallest increment we would use is $25. When the normal increments are broken it can work against the bidder; example: bidder "A" bids $401 and the bid ends up on the floor (by chance only) at $400. We bid $401 which first off, immediately indicates that the bid is at its maximum point and secondly we will take a bid of $402 and sell it to the floor when normally we would need at least an increment of $25.
The plus is normally used to break a tie, however we will not take an item away from a bidder who bid $400+ for an increment less than the next normal increment. Therefore odd bidding doesn't usually work to a bidders' advantage. Also a bid of $401+ is useless because the bidding would never tie at such an odd increment so a bid of $400+ is more effective as the plus is more likely to come into play.
Multiple plus bids are also difficult for us to execute. A bid of $400+++ leaves many variables. In $25 increments if it indeed ties at $400 equals $525; i.e. the floor bids $400, we bid $425 (first plus) the floor bids $450, we bid $475 (second plus), the floor bids $500, we bid $525 (third plus). This is multiplied doubly if we use $50 increments placing the $400+++ bid at $650 in the same scenario. Therefore we ask that bidders bid as high as they are willing to go and if they wish to break a possible tie to use a single plus.
We have been asked by bidders why they, who bid $500+ on an item, didn't get it when it sold at $550. The reason is simple, a tie did not occur. This again is an example of a bidder not understanding the purpose of the plus and that there is only a certain percentage of the time when a tie does occur.
We value our absentee bid business greatly and we treat our bidders fairly. You can feel comfortable bidding as much as you wish and you only need to outbid another bidder. On several occasions bidders have questioned our use of this policy because they felt they got most items near or at their top bid. We have about 4000 customers, many of these customers share similar interests. Desirable items receive heavy absentee bid activity, many times they open quite high on crossing absentee bids. Occasionally a good item either gets cataloged without our realizing its value or gets inadvertently buried in the second half of the catalog. We obviously try not to let this happen but being realists, we know that it does happen from time to time. We are shocked at how well read our catalogs are and it is not uncommon to receive ten or more absentee bids on such an item.
RESULTS WILL BE AVAILABLE ON THE WEDNESDAY FOLLOWING THE SALE.
Our advice to telephone bidders and all bidders for that matter is to have a stop point in mind and bid actively to that point, then if you need some time to think you can. Telephone bidders are wise to let an item slow down before they start trying to bid, when bidding is moving quickly a phone bidder cannot get a bid in before the bid advances on the floor. One wise technique is to give the staff member a stop point when the bidding opens. Say the bid is at $400 and a staff member is told to bid to $800, they can bid like any bidder in the hall until that point and then ask if the phone bidder would like to advance over that point. The most common problem with phone bidders is their not understanding the pace of the auction and over–thinking, or attempting to be a "buzzer beater", let us assure you that the buzzer usually wins.
The ideal telephone bidder responds quickly with a simple "yes" or "go" or "bid". Thinking ahead and removing the thoughts of trying to use a "strategy" works best when bidding in that manner.
What we would like all absentee and telephone bidders to remember is that you aren't at the auction. There is no perfect system to assure that all absentee and telephone bidders can bid with the same ease as they could if they were at the sale. We do everything to accommodate absentee bidders and as we said before we value your business greatly. We hope that this information is helpful and as always we are open to comments and suggestions on how we can better serve our customers.
IF YOU FAX YOUR BID SHEET INTO OUR OFFICE, PLEASE CALL TO CONFIRM THAT WE DID RECEIVE IT.