For antique collectors attending and bidding at an auction can be a heart stopping event particularly if you have been after a certain piece for a long time and it has finally come up at auction. Even those who are relatively new to the world of antiques and auctions get a huge thrill even if they are only going with the hope of learning a little more about buying and selling. As thrilling as attending an auction might be it can also be very confusing unless you know the terminology that is being used there, so here it is explained in plain English.
An absentee bid means that you are able to bid on an item without actually having to be here in the auction room. All absentee bids have to be put in before the auction starts by any means that the auctioneer has agreed too such as on the on the phone or online.
An absolute auction is a term that is used for the items won by the one who puts in he highest bid and there are no limitations or reserved prices.
Appraisal is the value of confirmation of the value by someone such as an auctioneer, they are also known as the appraiser.
Catalogue auctions are conducted in a different location to where the actual items listed for sale are being held. The items are presented in catalogues and the actual viewing of the items will have been made before the auction itself has started.
The hammer price is the price that the item sold for at the time when the auctioneer dropped the hammer and considered the item to be sold.
Private auction can take place and this means that the people bidding on the item or items are not seen.
A reserve auction can be held and if this is the case then the lot will have a set amount put on it and this amount isn’t disclosed. Bidders will bid on the lot and if the reserve price isn’t met then the seller can refuse to sell or can accept the lower bid.
This is some of the most common terminology that is used at auctions and although this will vary a little from place to place is used throughout for the most part. Great bargains can be gained at auctions but you have to know what to look for and understand the lingo in the auction room and among collectors if you are to get ahead in the antiques business.