Don’t be intimidated by the way auction bidding often is depicted on TV. It’s actually quite simple if you observe the rules. These 10 tips should help:
1. Obtain the catalog from the auction house in advance. It includes a brief description, photo, and estimated value of each item.
2. Note the lot numbers of items that appeal to you. When possible, inspect those items in a presale viewing.
3. Bring along comparisons of prices of similar items on the open market.
4. Fill out the proper registration (you will need to provide identification) and pick up your auction paddle. It will display your registration number.
5. If you want to bid on an item immediately, raise your paddle when the auctioneer calls for an initial bid.
6. Bid higher by raising your paddle. Typically, bidding moves in increments of 10% of the initial price. For instance, if the initial bid is $1,000, you’re bidding $1,100 if you raise your paddle next.
7. Listen for other bids. Raise your paddle again to increase your bid by 10%.
8. Increase your bid by a different increment (called a “jump”) by raising your paddle and calling out the bid amount.
9. As bidding winds down, wait for the auctioneer to ask for final bids.
10. Listen to how the auctioneer acknowledges the buyer (“Sold to #1, the woman in the first row in the red dress.”). This closes the sale.