I’m ashamed I waited this long.
After writing about and reading sales results from live auctions held online, I finally participated in my first live online auction last weekend. Oh sure, I’ve been buying and selling on eBay for 10 years, but this is the first time I’ve participated in a sale carried live online by a brick-and-mortar auction house.
Personally, I found the live auction bidding process far more entertaining, competitive and satisfying than the usual days-long Internet auction. A few days before the sale, my wife and I grabbed a cup of coffee and a chai tea and checked every lot in the auction’s catalog.
We picked which lots we wanted and determined our maximum bids. We also tracked other interesting lots and made friendly wagers on what we estimated the realized price would be.
About an hour before the sale we visited the live auction provider and downloaded the free software to bid live. It is a simple to use, single-click method giving you all the control to determine how much you want to spend in pre-determined dollar increments. The particular provider we used also shows the next few lots coming up so we could prepare during the fast paced sale.
Then we nestled on the couch to watch the bidding begin. We were successful on the lots we wanted and it was really fun to watch the prices climb on the lots we were curious about.
The flexibility was great, too. We weren’t interested in a particularly large collection sold during the auction so I used that time to take care of some household chores.
As fun and as fast paced as Internet auctions are, live auction providers need to work out a few bugs. Some don’t work on all computers – if you are an Apple user your options are limited. Some make you register a credit card to participate even if you want to pay cash for your purchases. In our situation, the auction house was a few hours away – close enough for us to visit to pick up our purchases. Double check your auction house’s shipping and handling terms thoroughly before you invest your time and money in any lots.
It would be fascinating if someone were to conduct an experiment to compare the final values of similar items sold during a days-long online auction versus an electronic live auction. I bet the results wouldn’t be as clear-cut as you’d think.
Take the time to watch a live online auction before hand and see how the process works. Trust me, you’ll get hooked and wonder why you waited so long.
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