Auction Types and How They Work

Andy Warhol's Mao To Be Auctioned At ChristiesThere was once only a single way to participate in an auction, and that was by showing up to a live event and raising your paddle or calling your bid out loud. With the advent of online and remote auctions, there are now several ways for bidders to participate, and a growing number of auction types. To make choosing the right auction for your items easier, below we’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular types of auctions, and how each style of auction works.

On-Site and Online Live Auctions
This type of auction is likely what most people think of when they hear the word auction. Bidding takes place in real time, and is conducted either online or in person. This is also the most straight forward way to buy or sell in an auction setting, as it is simply the person who bids the highest who walks away with the item, and all participants are able to hear each bid as it comes in.

Webcast Auctions
Similar to live on-site auctions, these types of auctions are again conducted in real time, but the auctioneer and participants are all joined together via webcast. Lots that are up for bidding are all displayed through a webcast setting, and again, the highest bidder is the one who walks away with each lot.

Sealed Bid Auctions
There is a greater amount of secrecy associated with sealed bid auctions as participants are unaware of what their competition is bidding. Bid are submitted to the auctioneer or auction house in sealed envelopes and, as with other auctions, the participant with the highest submitted bid will be awarded the lot.

Timed Online Auctions
Time auctions held on sites like ebay are some of the most common web-based auctions. Sometimes created with a reserve amount and sometimes not, bidders have a number of hours, day, or weeks to bid on the lot in question. The only challenge to this type of auction is for bidders to ensure they have the last and highest bid placed before the auction closes.

While there is no hard and fast rule as to what types of items are best suited to each type of auction, it ultimately comes down to how quickly the auctioneer or owner wants to sell their items. For more tips on how to buy and sell in online auctions, be sure to see our posts on a first timer’s guide to online auctions, a history of livestock auctions, and how to sell on sites like ebay.

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One comment

  1. […] more information about safely buying and selling online, see our posts about the types of online auctions and how they work, buying and selling cars online, and the benefits of escrow in B2B […]

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