• Auctions 101

  • Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions about buying at auction!

    The #1 rule is.......Have fun!

    Our auctions are a great place to hunt for bargains, and you should enjoy yourself while you sleuth them out.

    Don’t be shy.
    Auctions are informal. If you have a question, just stop the auctioneer and ask. What is that thing? Has it been tested? Are you selling the table or the lamp or the table and lamp together? Just shout out your questions and your bids.

    Come early and inspect the goods.
    You should never bid on something you haven’t thoroughly examined.

    Auctions take time. The longer you stay the more bargains you will find. Watch this website. 

    We post selected photos of the goods at our upcoming auctions, so visit our website at least weekly to see if there will be an item of interest to you.

    Sign up for our auction alerts and we will email you a reminder a few days before an upcoming auction.

    How Auctions Work

    If you have never bid at an auction, don’t be intimidated. Once you know the basic rules, it is fun and exciting. 
    Here are some frequently asked questions:

    What are those numbered cards everyone has?
    The are bidder’s cards. It is your number for the day and identifies you to the auctioneer. Just register at the clerk trailer and then keep your numbered card handy when bidding. Have it ready to show the auctioneer when he looks at you and calls it "sold!" Take your bidder’s card home with you when you leave and let the clerk know right away if you lose it, because you are responsible for all sales posted to that number that day.

    How do I bid?
    When you want to bid, raise your hand, holler, wave, shout or in some way catch the auctioneer’s eye. Once he has seen you, the auctioneer will come back to you when it is your turn to bid. The auctioneer will look at you and all you have to do is nod yes or no if you want to bid the price he is asking. Don’t be shy, at almost every auction someone loses a bid because they are waving but aren’t seen, and they are too shy to speak up. The best way to start bidding is with a loud YIP!

    How much do I bid?
    Only you can decide that. You should always carefully inspect the goods before the auction and make a mental note how much you are willing to pay for an item. If bidding goes over the price you have decided to pay, just shake your head no when the auctioneer turns to you. But don’t think too long, if you don’t immediately say yes, the auctioneer will assume it is no and will likely sell the piece to someone else if you hesitate.

    Are the goods warranted or guaranteed?
    With very few exceptions, NO! It is the bidder’s responsibility to inspect the merchandise carefully, determine if it is damaged or complete, and then bid accordingly. The auctioneer will point out significant flaws if he is aware of them, but auction protocol specifies that the buyer must satisfy herself of the condition of the item before she bids. You must still pay your bid even if there is a chip or crack you didn’t notice. One exception might be electrically-powered items. If the auctioneer has not has a chance to test something, he may allow you buy the item, plug it in, and then return it if it doesn’t work. But you need to do this right away, preferably within a few minutes, and definitely before the auctioneer moves to a different group of items. The best approach is for you to test the item yourself before the bidding starts. Just tell one of the staff you want to test the item and they will help you.

    When will you sell the item I came to buy?
    The auctioneer will announce the sale order at the start of the auction. They do their best to follow the route and time announced but do make adjustments at times. Feel free to ask the staff to estimate how long it will be and they will do their best, but remember that the only way to assure you can bid on the item you like is to stay and watch for it.

    When do I take possession of my items?
    Once the auctioneer says "Sold", the piece belongs to you. Most small things will be handed to you and you should immediately put them in a safe place, like a locked car. For larger purchases, like furniture to be loaded later, you must still keep an eye on them. If you lose sight of something and it is gone when you return, you must still pay for it.

    What is does "choice" mean?
    Often when there are multiple, similar items, the auctioneer will declare "choice". This means the winning bidder can take one or more of the items (their "choice" of items) paying the winning bid for each one. If there are three items under a "choice" and someone gets the bid for $10, they have the choice to take one item for $10, two items for $20, or all three items for $30.

    What does "times the money" mean?
    When a set of items is being sold, sometimes the auctioneer will announce "times the money". This differs from "choice" in that the winning bidder must take the entire setand pay the winning bid for each item. If an auctioneer says "four times the money" on a set of four chairs and the winning bid is $10, the bidder must take all four chairs for $10 each or $40. If you want only two of the chairs, feel free to ask the auctioneer to do a "choice" instead of "times the money". He may have a reason not to do a choice, but he will generally work with you.

    Why is the bid going up when I am the only one bidding?
    Fox Auction Company does not use phantom bids. Most of the time someone behind you is bidding and the auctioneer can see her even if you can’t. Also, we often accept "absentee bids", which is when a real bidder who cannot attend the auction asks the auctioneer to bid on the item for him, up to a specified amount. Sometimes the auctioneer has two or more absentee bids for an item. Absentee bids are generally only done with the more expensive items.

    Are your helpers running my bid up?
    No. Most of our employees came to us because they love auctions and the love to buy at auctions. If one of our helpers is bidding on an item, it is no different than the person standing next to you bidding. They still pay for everything they bought at the end of the day, just as you do.

    What is a reserve?

    The seller sometimes asks the auctioneer to set a "reserve", which is the minimum price the seller will accept. In most cases, bidders never know this because the bidding usually exceeds the reserve. If the bidding slows and the reserve is not met, the auctioneer will explain this. The auctioneer will not sell the item below the reserve so, if it is not met, the item will be returned to the seller. Generally only a few of the more expensive items at an auction will have a reserve. Most auction items sell for whatever people will pay, so come and get yourself some bargains!

    When and how do I pay?

    You can leave the auction whenever you like, but you must go to the clerk trailer and settle your account before you leave the property that day. Fox Auction Company accepts cash, good check and credit cards with an 4% fee. Please do not bid and write a check if you don’t have the funds to cover it. Dishonored checks are turned over to a collection service.