How Auctions Work

Auctions can seem overwhelming, confusing and unsure. So what do you need to know when you attend your first auction? Well, lets begin on what is an auction and why do they even exist. An auction is a process of buying and selling items by offering them up for bid, taking bids and then selling them to the highest bidder. Typically, these items are sold over the course of several hours. YOu don’t necessarily have to stay for the entire auction if you only have one or two items you’re interested in. You can even place an absentee bid or have a staff member call you so you can place bids over the phone. There is also the opportunity before the auction begins to preview the items in person that are being sold. 
Why are things auction you ask? Well, some might be from an entire household like an estate, where the owners need to sell these items quickly in order to prepare their home to be put on the market. It could also be a small business where the owner is retiring and it needs to be closed by a specific date. In other cases, an auction is the most suitable format because it offers a means to quickly sell many goods over a short period of time. 
During the Auction Process, all the items have a preview period which can occur either day before the actual auction is to begin or in the hours leading up to the start of the auction. This allows everyone a chance to look at what is for sale, look at the condition of the item and then make notes to what to bid on. The times appear on the auction schedule and while you are previewing, you can also reserve a seat and register for the auction in advance. Once the buyers arrive they will register. Regulars that come often to the auction just say hello at the front desk and pick up their bidder card ( a white card with a number). For those that are new, you just need to fill out your address, phone number and driver's license. The information is recorded and then you will receive your bidder card. The bidders can sit or stand in view of the auctioneer as the items are brought up and then sold off one by one. 
Image: Peachtree and Bennett 
So what can you auction off when it comes to attending or wanting to sell items at your own auction? Really anything that you can think of can be auction but the most valuable of items are collectors items or antiques. One particular business that does a wonderful job at selling, preserving and auctioning off the best items to the highest bidder is a company called Peachtree Bennett. They have several locations across the United States. The individuals within the company will either visit you at a location that you wish to evaluate your items and discuss appropriate selling options with you with no obligation or commitment. If you don’t have a location, you can bring your items or photographs to one of their many offices either in the New York, California or Atlanta areas. If those are not near you, feel free to take photographs and email them to the company and they will email you back with an estimate on what it could be priced at.  
At several auction companies, they will be a charge to the buer about a 10-20% to purchase at the auction. This charge allows the company is pretty historic and allows the company offer a reasonable commission rate to the seller which helps to ensure quality merchandise. Keep in mind when you are bidding, there will be sales tax as well. The best part is that you are purchasing something or selling something that will make an impact on both the seller and the buyer. 

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