Pre-bidding Best Practices

It is the nature of the auction process that Bidders are set against each other in a competition which necessarily drives up the price of a given lot until the buyer who is willing to pay the most wins the item.

It is our goal to achieve the highest prices for our Consignors and at the same time provide a positive, fun and productive experience for our Bidders.

With that in mind we would like to point out a service we provide and help you understand how it works. Many of our customers already take advantage of their ability to leave a pre-bid. A pre-bid is sometimes referred to as an “absentee bid”, or a “left bid”. A customer may leave a pre-bid on their own account for a given lot. Leaving a pre-bid allows a potential customer to be absent when the bidding goes live. To be effective, the pre-bid should be the maximum amount that the customer is willing to pay. It is possible that the item may be won for less - and sometimes even far less than a customer’s pre-bid. This results in a happy scenario for the buyer and never causes a problem.

However, it is possible that a live bidder could win the item at that of another bidder’s pre-bid. Any bid can start “on the wrong foot.” By way of example let’s take a live bid situation. Say after calculation, that you want to pay up to $2,000 for a given lot. The bidding, once started, has now slowed at $1,600. The next bid is $1,700. You take it. Your opponent takes the following bid for $1,800. But, as you take the bid for $1,900 you suddenly realize that your opponent will be able to bid $2,000. You were “on the wrong foot”. Your opponent takes it for $2,000 and you realize that you must bid one over your maximum, to stay in the bidding. In a pre-bid scenario, you don’t have the option to jump back in. The bidding has finished at $2,000 and even though you left a bid for $2,000 another bidder ends up with the item at your pre-bid. Below is the same scenario with your pre-bid.

  • Your Pre-bid – $1,700
  • Live Bidder – $1,800
  • Your Pre-bid – $1,900
  • Live Bidder – $2,000

You lose to the live bidder.

There are two ways that you can prevent this from happening to you. The first is simple. If you like an item and don’t want to risk losing it, consider leaving a bid that is one increment higher than you’d like to pay. That way if it does go for your (over) bid, you can’t be too upset. Other than that, it is best to bid live. You can see the increments and the bids against you and act accordingly.

We hope that you have a pleasurable experience bidding with us. We also hope that this explanation has been helpful.