The Complete Glossary of Auction
Bid Package A
compilation of materials, information, and terms relevant to the
auction and the lots to be sold that is given to each bidder upon
Bid Paddle A wooden board
resembling a Ping-Pong paddle that the auctioneer gives to bidders
to be used in place of a bid card.
Bid Rigging When two or more
people conspire to restrain trade by artificially "fixing" bids in
an auction. This can occur when bidders agree not to bid against one
another so as to depress selling prices, or when an auctioneer and
one or more others agree to try and artificially increase selling
prices. The conspiracy is the crime, punishable by law.
Bid Spotter See "bid assistant."
Bidders' Dispute A term commonly
and mistakenly used with "late bids."
Bidder Number The number
appearing on a "bid card" or "bid paddle" and assigned to a
registered bidder in an auction by the auctioneer.
Bidding The act of participating
in an auction by offering to purchase an item for sale.
Buyer's Premium A fee paid by
the buyer to the auction house, the buyer’s premium is calculated as
a percentage of the winning bid and added on to it. This charge is
paid by the buyer to the seller to compensate for the added costs of
presenting fine art, antiques, and collectibles in an online format.
This charge doesn’t include fees such as taxes or shipping. In
addition to the winning bid price, sales tax may be added.
Catalog or Brochure A
publication advertising and describing the items available for sale
at public auction, often including photographs, property
descriptions and the terms and conditions of the sale.
Clerk The person employed by the
principal auctioneer or auction firm to record what is sold, to whom
and for what price.
Commission A fee collected by
the auction house that’s usually calculated as a percentage of the
winning bid and subtracted from it before the money is released to
Competing bid During a sale, the
auctioneer may accept competing bids for an item from various
sources, including bids from an in-house audience, telephone bids,
book bids, and absentee bids.
Consignee, Consignor In an
auction the consignor is also called the seller and owns the item to
be auctioned. The consignee is the auction house.
Condition Report Our cataloguers
develop a written description of items to inform potential buyers
about make purchasing decisions.
eBidding Online auctions in
which potential buyers submit bids electronically. Witherell’s uses
iGavel Auctions to reach the widest possible online audience.
Escrow Money held in trust by a
third party until the seller makes delivery of merchandise to the
Estate Auction The sale of
property left by a person at his/her death. An estate auction can
involve the sale of personal and/or real property.
Fair Market Value The price an
item would sell for in an open market between a willing buyer and a
willing seller with neither being under any requirement to act and
both having reasonable knowledge of the relevant facts.
Grading The process for
determining the physical condition of an item. Different items have
different grading systems.
Hammer Price Price established
by the last bidder and acknowledged by the auctioneer before
dropping the hammer or gavel to indicate a sale is completed.
Increment A minimum amount by
which a new bid must exceed the previous bid.
Hammer Price This is the price
paid when the auctioneer’s “hammer” falls at the end of live
bidding. The hammer price does not include the Buyer’s Premium or
Lien An adverse claim or charge
against an item when that item is being used as collateral for a
Lot An item or group of items
for sale in an auction which are denoted by a "lot" number.
Minimum bid The smallest opening
bid that will be accepted for an item or lot.
National Auctioneers Association
A U.S. association of individual auctioneers united to maintain
ethical standards for the auction profession, promote the enactment
of just and reasonable laws, ordinances and regulations affecting
auction selling, make the public more aware of the advantages of
auction selling, and improve the business conditions.
No Reserve Auction An auction
that has no reserve price set by the seller. The winning bid only
has to meet or beat the minimum price set by the seller or the
auction house. This is also known as an Absolute Auction.
On-site Auction An auction
conducted on the premises of the property being sold.
On-site Bidder A bidder who’s
physically participating at the auction site.
Outbid When a bidder’s offer is
topped by another buyer’s offer. To submit a maximum bid that is
higher than another buyer's maximum bid.
Preview A specified date and
time, known as an open house or inspection, when a property is
available for prospective buyer viewing of items in advance of the
Opening bid This the first bid
placed on a particular item or lot and must be at least the minimum
bid, but can be higher.
information which is known about an item's history including prior
exhibitions, gallery it may have been purchased at, previous owners,
or any historical significance.
Proxy Bid A type of bid with
which a bidder can protect his or her identity by allowing
another person to make bids on the buyer’s behalf while instructing
the proxy bidder on his or her bidding limits.
Reserve or Reserve Price The
minimum price that a seller is willing to accept for an item to be
sold at auction. This amount is never formally disclosed.
Shill A bidder who bids to get
the price up but has no intention of buying the item.
SMS Alerts Alerts sent by text
message to a bidder’s cell phone to inform him or her when another
bidder has placed a bid on an item.
Starting Price The likely
starting bid for a given auction, set by the seller at the time of
Traditional Auction An auction
conducted in front of a live audience at a physical location where
the items for sale are located.
Telephone Bidding Potential
buyers let the auctioneer’s assistant know by phone how much they’re
willing to bid, and he or she places incremental bids for them as
the auction progresses.
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