Lester Edgecomb

Auctions 101 & Auction "No-No's"

Like all businesses, there are industry trade secrets and rules - but Edgecomb Auctions gives you the EDGE when it comes to AUCTIONS! Here are some things you need to know:

How do I "BID"?

You start by registering with the auction staff when you arrive and getting a bid card with a number on it. When the auction starts, you simply raise your hand or card when you want to bid on the item being offered at the price that is given.

How do I know what an item is worth?

This depends on several factors including the auction's time, place and present audience. But also, is it rare? Is it part of a collection? Does it have sentimental value? How much is it needed? A small item might not have any overt value, but it may be worth much more to one person over another. Some items have very specific values such as precious stones, metals and coins. If you are looking for specific value, it's always good to do your homework ahead of time by calling around for like items and looking on the internet to find comparables.

What is the "PREVIEW"?

Arriving early to an auction insures you will have enough time to look over all items. Usually farm auctions or equipment may be Previewed days before the auction.

What is a "RESERVE"?

This is a way that the seller can guarantee a minimum sale price on an item otherwise the item is returned to him. If there is a Reserve on an item it is usually stated before it is sold. The seller always has the right to the last bid.


This is an auction where there are no reserves, so the item sells no matter what the top bid is. It should be stated on the auction ad as "ABSOLUTE".

What is an "ABSENTEE BID"?

This is when a buyer can't physically be at the auction but either has a representative present, has left a previously written bid or is making bids over the phone to auction staff.

What is a "BUYER's PREMIUM"?

This is an additional fee added to the purchase price by some auctioneers. Edgecomb Auctions DOES NOT charge a buyer's premium.


Paying for bought items, may be done after purchase or if more bidding is going to be done, when finished or at the end of the auction. Once the auctioneer says "SOLD" that item is considered your property. At some auctions, you are handed the item right after the sale, other times the item is placed back on display and will be your responsibility to pick it up after the auction is done.

What is "POOLING"?

This is when a group of people conspire ahead of time to have just one person bid on an item without bidding against him to keep the sale price low so they can later hold their own "auction" to determine the ultimate owner. This is an illegal activity that if convicted carries federal fines and possibly jail time.

What is "RUNNING A BID"?

This means that someone is pretending to have an absentee bid, phone bid or an on-site bid from a person that doesn't really exist. This drives the price up and is unfair to everyone. Where they may not be any legal consequences, this practice is frowned on.

Auctions are great fun and can be loaded with excitement, but don't lose perspective of what the purpose is: to buy and sell items.