Buying At Auction: 6 Hints to Make You a Successful Bidder

Buying at auction, be it for stamps or coins, antiques or even cattle, can be one of the most exciting and profitable experiences possible. It can also be expensive and utterly frustrating. The best way to come out ahead is to learn the tricks of the trade early. Here are some suggestions that should help you get on the fast track to success.

(1) Do your research. Knowledge is your most important tool, even more important than money.

(2) Learn how to be inconspicuous.

(3) Beware of zombies, shills and lunatics. The best way to avoid them is

(4) Hire an agent.

(5) Be selective. Don't be afraid to spend the extra dollar when something especially rare or in exceptional condition comes your way. You may never get another chance.

To elaborate:

(1) Every experienced buyer knows how important knowledge is. Questions of authenticity, condition, and rarity are always the key considerations. If you are fortunate enough to have both knowledge and money, you have the world by the tail. But even if you have limited funds you can still do very well if you know something the rest of the potential buyers don't.

(2) Once you have spotted something you want to buy, fade into the woodwork as much as possible. The last thing you want to do is attract attention to yourself or the lot you are interested in. After you've been around long enough, your competition will find out who you are. Until then try to keep as low a profile as possible and guard your information. Use a code system to keep track of your limits. I'm constantly amazed at how careless some bidders are with their auction catalogs and what they write in them.

(3) Zombies, shills and lunatics are every auction bidder's nightmare. If a zombie knows who you are, he/she will follow your every move. Their motto is: if that person is willing to spend a hundred dollars for a lot, I sure can afford to spend a hundred and ten. Most people know what a shill is. It is someone working for the auction house or seller who artificially pushes up prices by bidding against you. In order for an item to get a good price, two or more bidders must be interested in it. Shills are especially skilled at figuring out how high you are willing to go. Lunatics are the ones who absolutely have to have a lot and will bid whatever it takes to win it. The best way to deal with these three worthies is to hire an agent to bid for you.

(4) Agents are professionals who have developed skills at bidding at auction. One famous New York stamp auction agent was so skilled at hiding his bids that only the auctioneer and a few other people ever knew how he did it. As strange as it may sound, paying an auction agent the extra 2-5% fee may save you many hundreds of dollars or more in the long run. The zombies, shills and lunatics won't know who is bidding against them.

(5) Finally, one of the most important skills of all is the ability to recognize when to open up the purse strings. Condition and rarity are the two most important determinants of price. The exceptional item is always worth an extra bid or two. One customer who was examining my stamps at a national stamp show remarked, "I've been looking for this one for more than 40 years and you have a very nice copy. But I never pay more than half catalog for anything." I wished him well. It was a scarce stamp and I expect he'll still be looking if he lives another 40 years.

To summarize: knowledge is the primary key to success at auction bidding. Secondly, develop your skills as a bidder and buyer. Then, learn to recognize the individuals you will have to deal with on the auction floor. Cross them up and use and agent. And finally, know when to pay a premium for the exceptional item.

Best of luck!

John Anderson has been bidding at auction for more than forty years and has purchased hundreds of stamps, antiques and collectibles that way. Now semi-retired from stamps he is a full-time writer. His first novel, The Cellini Masterpiece, was published under the pseudonym of Raymond John. He is now hard at work on his second, and an auction plays an important role in the plot. If you would like to contact John or read the first chapter of The Cellini Masterpiece, please log on at: http://www.cmasterpiece.com

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U.S. house-auction firm enters the Vancouver market  The Globe and MailAurelia Isidoro, who lives in New Jersey, was happy when her real estate auction firm decided to move into the Vancouver market. She'd visited the B.C. Lower ...
Elfin Forest Mural sold for over $1k in auction  KSBY San Luis Obispo NewsA painting of an Elfin Forest Mural was sold for over $1,000 in a silent auction held in Los Osos on Saturday. The painting was Barbara Rosenthal's guide in ...
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Bid to play catch with Lorenzen among auctions  MLB.comLAS VEGAS -- A charitable tradition during the Winter Meetings will continue this week, with the Reds offering once-in-a-lifetime types of experiences that fans ...
The 10 Bangladesh players registered for IPL auctions  The Daily StarThe 2019 IPL players auctions is set to take place on December 18 and Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) registered the names of 10 Bangladesh cricketers who ...
Coins, silver and baseball cards up for ADOR auction on Friday  KTAR.comThe Arizona Department of Revenue will hold a public auction Friday of unclaimed property from safe deposit boxes.
A bunch of Michigan land is going to auction: How to bid  Detroit Free PressThe auction also includes a couple of parcels in metro Detroit, in Oakland and Livingston counties.
The Biggest Winner of Auction Week and 12 Other Takeaways From New York’s $2 Billion Sales  artnet NewsFrom the biggest winner to the most surprising pass, here are our parting observations from last week's auction marathon. artnet News, November 20, 2018.
Marilyn Monroe's Golden Globe sells for record $250,000 at auction  Reuters(Reuters) - Marilyn Monroe's Golden Globe Award sold for a record-breaking $250,000 at Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills, California, auction officials said late ...
Winton Woods Riding Center horse auction raises eyebrows  Cincinnati.comA sealed bid auction by Winton Woods Riding Center is attracting both interest and criticism.
Sebi to auction Sai Prasad Group's 162 properties next month  Economic TimesNEW DELHI: Markets regulator Sebi will auction as many as 162 properties of Sai Prasad Group of firms and three of its directors next month in order to recover ...
DD Freedish to open 55 slots for e-auction by December-end  Best Media InfoThe Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) had shown the green light to DD Freedish's e-auction in October 2018. The date of auction and the opening ...
India will auction 80 GW of solar, wind capacity by March 2020  pv magazine InternationalThe Indian Government plans to tender 60 GW of solar and 20 GW of wind capacity by March 2020. This would complete the planned auctions for its targets of ...
The Mug coffee shop faces assets auction  Business DailyThe Mug, a Nairobi coffee shop, is facing auction of its assets over Sh4.3 million rent arrears.
FCC Plans Major Spectrum Auction in 2019  Light ReadingThe FCC said Wednesday that it is planning "a major 5G spectrum auction in 2019," that combines the upper 37GHz, 39GHz and 47GHz millimeter wave bands, ...
No buyers at Newport auction of 3 impounded boats, which now will make their final cruises to the scrapyard  Los Angeles TimesNewport Beach tried to auction a trio of uncommonly large impounded vessels this week that, despite their abundant character, got no bids.
Einstein's religious views on display at 2 New York auctions  Charlotte ObserverA Bible described as "an inexhaustible source of living wisdom and consolation" in an inscription by Albert Einstein failed to sell at auction.
Auction Report: The Rolex Ref. 6062 'Dark Star' Is The Coolest Watch Of This Week's New York Auctions  HODINKEEChristie's is selling this unbelievable triple calendar for the second time – and the results will be very interesting.
Annabel's, London's Most Famous Club, Is Auctioning Off Its Iconic Decor  TownandCountrymag.comA colllection of objects from Annabel's will go under the hammer at Christie's London, with estimated sales prices from £50 to £120000. Designer Nina Campbell ...
Babe Ruth's cleats, other Bambino belongings up for auction  New York Post A trove of Babe Ruth's personal items, including his hand-stitched hunting gloves and a photograph Lou Gehrig signed for him, will go up for auction next...
IPL 2019 Auctions: 5 Players To Watch Out For  SportskeedaIn the article, you will find 5 players who will play an important role for whichever team they play.
Tesla Partners With Auction Companies To Manage Used Car Market  CleanTechnicaNovember 27th, 2018 by Steve Hanley. Car auctions move billions of dollars a year and are essential to the US automobile industry, yet operate out of the public ...
5 players KKR could target in the IPL auction  SportskeedaThe franchise has recently asked for suggestions to the fans in social media on whom to buy ahead of the 2019 IPL auctions.
The Future of Auction Houses May Depend on Cheap Art  BloombergSotheby's, Phillips, and others are hoping to scale—but are hindered by the fact that masterpieces are limited in quantity. Furniture, not so much.

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