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Buying At Auction: 6 Hints to Make You a Successful Bidder


Buying at auction, be it for stamps or coins, antiques or even cattle, can be one of the most exciting and profitable experiences possible. It can also be expensive and utterly frustrating. The best way to come out ahead is to learn the tricks of the trade early. Here are some suggestions that should help you get on the fast track to success.

(1) Do your research. Knowledge is your most important tool, even more important than money.

(2) Learn how to be inconspicuous.

(3) Beware of zombies, shills and lunatics. The best way to avoid them is

(4) Hire an agent.

(5) Be selective. Don't be afraid to spend the extra dollar when something especially rare or in exceptional condition comes your way. You may never get another chance.

To elaborate:

(1) Every experienced buyer knows how important knowledge is. Questions of authenticity, condition, and rarity are always the key considerations. If you are fortunate enough to have both knowledge and money, you have the world by the tail. But even if you have limited funds you can still do very well if you know something the rest of the potential buyers don't.

(2) Once you have spotted something you want to buy, fade into the woodwork as much as possible. The last thing you want to do is attract attention to yourself or the lot you are interested in. After you've been around long enough, your competition will find out who you are. Until then try to keep as low a profile as possible and guard your information. Use a code system to keep track of your limits. I'm constantly amazed at how careless some bidders are with their auction catalogs and what they write in them.

(3) Zombies, shills and lunatics are every auction bidder's nightmare. If a zombie knows who you are, he/she will follow your every move. Their motto is: if that person is willing to spend a hundred dollars for a lot, I sure can afford to spend a hundred and ten. Most people know what a shill is. It is someone working for the auction house or seller who artificially pushes up prices by bidding against you. In order for an item to get a good price, two or more bidders must be interested in it. Shills are especially skilled at figuring out how high you are willing to go. Lunatics are the ones who absolutely have to have a lot and will bid whatever it takes to win it. The best way to deal with these three worthies is to hire an agent to bid for you.

(4) Agents are professionals who have developed skills at bidding at auction. One famous New York stamp auction agent was so skilled at hiding his bids that only the auctioneer and a few other people ever knew how he did it. As strange as it may sound, paying an auction agent the extra 2-5% fee may save you many hundreds of dollars or more in the long run. The zombies, shills and lunatics won't know who is bidding against them.

(5) Finally, one of the most important skills of all is the ability to recognize when to open up the purse strings. Condition and rarity are the two most important determinants of price. The exceptional item is always worth an extra bid or two. One customer who was examining my stamps at a national stamp show remarked, "I've been looking for this one for more than 40 years and you have a very nice copy. But I never pay more than half catalog for anything." I wished him well. It was a scarce stamp and I expect he'll still be looking if he lives another 40 years.

To summarize: knowledge is the primary key to success at auction bidding. Secondly, develop your skills as a bidder and buyer. Then, learn to recognize the individuals you will have to deal with on the auction floor. Cross them up and use and agent. And finally, know when to pay a premium for the exceptional item.

Best of luck!

John Anderson has been bidding at auction for more than forty years and has purchased hundreds of stamps, antiques and collectibles that way. Now semi-retired from stamps he is a full-time writer. His first novel, The Cellini Masterpiece, was published under the pseudonym of Raymond John. He is now hard at work on his second, and an auction plays an important role in the plot. If you would like to contact John or read the first chapter of The Cellini Masterpiece, please log on at: http://www.cmasterpiece.com


TODAYS NEWS BY OFFICEJAX FREE ADVERTISING AND AD EXCHANGE SOLUTIONSMORE RESOURCES updated Sat. February / 27 / 2021

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St. Louis County to hold online auction of waterfront properties  Duluth News Tribune

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Effects of Transporting Cattle on Auction Prices  Drovers Magazine

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Bonnette Auctions announces March 6 auction  KALB

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Government Auctions to Boost Colombian Non-Conventional Renewable Energy  Fitch Ratings

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StockX Auctions a Pair of Láolú Sneakers to Raise Money for Lena Waithe’s Charity  Adweek

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Oceanfront Bermuda Estate with Boat House Heading for Auction  Mansion Global

MLCS Mini Jubilee Jewelry Online Silent Auction - MyMotherLode.com
MLCS Mini Jubilee Jewelry Online Silent Auction  MyMotherLode.com

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Grammy-winning producer Illmind auctions rights to new samples as NFT  Cointelegraph

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City of San Angelo Online Auction Under Way  San Angelo LIVE!

Massive 242-carat diamond expected to sell for $2 million at auction - KIRO Seattle
Massive 242-carat diamond expected to sell for $2 million at auction  KIRO Seattle

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UGA great Jake Scott’s memorabilia bringing big money at auction  Atlanta Journal Constitution

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Black History Night Auction Featuring Special Warmup Jerseys Now Open  Washington Captials Web Site

Massive 242-carat Russian diamond heads to auction block - New York Post
Massive 242-carat Russian diamond heads to auction block  New York Post

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Benefits of in-person used-car auctions remain clear  Automotive News

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Brazil approves 5G auction notice  ZDNet

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This Auction Organized by Alex Papachristidis Is Full of Design Treasures  Architectural Digest

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REFILE-TREASURIES-Inflation bets, poor auction catapult key yield above 1.5%  Reuters

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Concordia creditors do battle as campus slated for June foreclosure auction  OregonLive

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Rarely seen Van Gogh painting exhibited ahead of auction  Associated Press

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Collector car auction coming to State Farm Stadium in March  KTAR.com

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22 horses, donkeys rescued from Cookeville auction and possible slaughter pipeline  WKRN News 2

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St. Rose school's online auction, fundraising week to wrap up Saturday  Longview Daily News

Van Gogh painting not seen for 100 years set for auction - CNN
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Lessons from spectrum auctions: Entner | FierceWireless  FierceWireless

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Shuttered Lakeside Inn, a favorite haunt of Tahoe locals, now selling off inventory  Reno Gazette Journal

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Station wagons from Ford family's personal collection up for auction  Detroit Free Press

FCC Reveals Its C-Band Auction Winners - Radio & Television Business Report
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Tivoli Theatre's online auction provides funds for live shows  Front Page

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Former member buys South Dakota polygamous sect compound at auction  Casper Star-Tribune Online

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Local News In Brief: Charity auction extends deadline  The Independent

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Productive Illinois farmland offered in March auction - PRNewswire
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NAEC's NEXT receives $27.5 million from FCC auction - ktlo.com
NAEC's NEXT receives $27.5 million from FCC auction  ktlo.com

An Online Auction for ARF - East Hampton Star
An Online Auction for ARF  East Hampton Star

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St. Louis County's online land auction nets $764,000 in sales  Duluth News Tribune

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Barrett-Jackson’s car auction coming to Las Vegas in June  Las Vegas Review-Journal

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OBS Equine Artwork Auction to Benefit Charity  BloodHorse.com

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IPL 2021: Schedule, Date, Auction, Team List, Complete Squads, Venue  Cricket Addictor

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Cold War Relics Auction - KTLA
Cold War Relics Auction  KTLA

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Target Auction Company Announces Auction Sale of a Luxury Estate on 6.5± Acres in Tupelo, Mississippi on March 18th  leader-call.com

Most Valuable Company Profile: Auction.com - DSNews - DSNews.com
Most Valuable Company Profile: Auction.com - DSNews  DSNews.com

Sydney auctions: West Pennant Hills house sells for $2.072m - Domain News
Sydney auctions: West Pennant Hills house sells for $2.072m  Domain News

DC's Superhero Auction Featured Comics Most Twisted Weapons - Screen Rant
DC's Superhero Auction Featured Comics Most Twisted Weapons  Screen Rant

Texas ranch heiress' art collection going up for auction - Associated Press
Texas ranch heiress' art collection going up for auction  Associated Press

Sotheby’s Christo Auction, Part 1, Nets $9.8 Million - The New York Times
Sotheby’s Christo Auction, Part 1, Nets $9.8 Million  The New York Times

Farmland Insider: Kansas auction of 10900 acres sells for $38 million - Successful Farming
Farmland Insider: Kansas auction of 10900 acres sells for $38 million  Successful Farming

Capitals to celebrate Black History Night with special jersey auction - NBC Sports
Capitals to celebrate Black History Night with special jersey auction  NBC Sports

Kid Lit Community Launches Auction To Help Combat Anti-Asian Racism | News Bites - School Library Journal
Kid Lit Community Launches Auction To Help Combat Anti-Asian Racism | News Bites  School Library Journal

What Investors Want to Know: US C-Band Auction Impact and Rating Horizon - Fitch Ratings
What Investors Want to Know: US C-Band Auction Impact and Rating Horizon  Fitch Ratings

Priest plans to auction coveted baseball cards to aid low-income students - Catholic News Service
Priest plans to auction coveted baseball cards to aid low-income students  Catholic News Service

ADECA online state surplus property auction starts Today - WHNT News 19
ADECA online state surplus property auction starts Today  WHNT News 19

Church women raise funds at auction | - yoursun.com
Church women raise funds at auction |  yoursun.com

Tesla charging cost magnified as Texas electricity auction system fuels price spike - Fox Business
Tesla charging cost magnified as Texas electricity auction system fuels price spike  Fox Business

Auction starts for all Lakeside Inn memorabilia and contents - South Tahoe Now
Auction starts for all Lakeside Inn memorabilia and contents  South Tahoe Now

'52 Mantle, Mahomes, MJ Rookies Push Goldin Auction Past $30... - Sports Collectors Daily
'52 Mantle, Mahomes, MJ Rookies Push Goldin Auction Past $30...  Sports Collectors Daily

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Cyberpunk and Witcher hackers don’t seem to be bluffing with $1M source code auction  The Verge

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