What NOT to Do at an Online Auction

Today was my first online auction, and I am afraid I made a few mistakes and lost out on my favorite item.

I noticed an auction sign at the entry to my allotment a few weeks ago. Initially, I thought the local country club was being updated and selling off the older furniture left after its recent sale.

But last week I reread the sign and found it was at one of the homes in the neighborhood and it was an estate sale.

I went online to the host of the sale and managed to locate the auction.  I expected to find a date and place to go for the sale but then read it was an online sale.

After reading the complete section. I found you had to sign up for the auction online and provide your information and a means of payment: credit card or bank account information.  I signed up and then was able to view the online catalog.

I loved this picture of birds- they had two- titmouse and chickadees; went for more than I wanted to spend

There were over 200 items; mainly oak furniture but high-quality oak furniture: well made and in good condition.

A Wood fret piece and headboard I wanted but they went for over $100 each- over my budget

What I did wrong:

  1. I could have gone to the house and viewed what was available a couple of days before the auction but did not go.  Mistake #1. Had I gone, I would have seen the size and condition of the items ordered. Dimension/size was not provided for all items.  Grouped items were in boxes; some frames and books, and I could not tell judge their value by the online picture.
  2. I did not make a list of the items and lot numbers of the items I wanted to buy.   Had I done that, I could have looked up the value of the artists and makers listed on the offering to see if a purchase might bring me a good return.
  3. I did do one thing CORRECTLY. I decided a price not to exceed on each item I wanted, and I did not start bidding until one hour before the end of the auction By making a top bid and by waiting until the last minute, I could stop myself from getting caught up in the romanticism of bidding and traping myself in a bidding war.
  4. My biggest mistake, however, was leaving the auction before the end of the process.  I made four “my highest bid” bids and left. Later when I returned, I found, of the three items for which I placed my highest bids, I only won one.  The other two went to other buyers. I still have some confusion on this, as my most senior request did exceed the winning bids. It seems I did not make the bid correctly.  Had I stayed online till the close of bidding, I would have known for certain that my highest bid was recognized.

I did manage to get a lovely oak lamp table.  I will most likely paint the table for resale in the online shop.

Table I did get

I lost out on the phone stand I so wanted for myself. I planned to place that between the two club chairs and move the wine table over to the end of the gold couch…But I guess it was not meant to be

Lost this phone stand

I also lost out on an item that the auction house marked as marred- it had water stains on the top.  I know John could have removed those and fixed the finish in a day. No one was bidding on it and I would have gotten it cheap but because I did not keep a record of my initial sighting, I missed another opportunity.  I could not find that item at all when I looked on the final day.

I have gone to public auctions before and found them no to my liking. You know, a large room with a bunch of seats and an auction table at the front. anyway, these take too long.  I don’t like to sit still unless I am doing something. The item you want might not come up for bidding for a couple of hours. Also, I do tend to bid on things I really don’t want and to make matters worse; I tend to overbid. Furthermore, I get a little claustrophobic with all the noise and people in the large room. John loves these, so we do go to a few but really not my thing.

I did call the auction house with my concerns about losing my highest bids.  Mary told me they could track the bidding online, and I did not push the final bed thought: did not do the final step in the bid.  Now I know how to make sure my bid goes through. 

Mary also told me that if someone makes a bid in the final minute; the bidding automatically stays open to give others a chance to update their submissions.

Mary also recommended downloading the company app on my phone, so if I am called away from the computer, I can still view and update my progress.

I think I really like this online forum and will try it again!

Have any of you guys been to auctions?  How di you do? I’d love to hear about your bidding adventure in the comments.

Thanks for listening. Talk soon

Take Good Care


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