Auction Terminology

Auction Terminology You Might Encounter

Absentee Bidder:

A person who may not attend the sale but submits, in advance, a written or oral bid that is the top price he/she will pay for a given property.

"As Is:"

Also known as "as is, where is" and "in its present condition." Typically, this is a sign that no return privileges will be granted.

Auction:

A method of selling property in a public forum through open and competitive bidding. Also referred to as: public auction, auction sale or sale.

Auctioneer:

The person whom the seller engages to direct, conduct, or be responsible for a sale by auction. This person may or may not actually "call" or "cry" the auction.

Bid:

A prospective buyer's indication or offer of a price he/she will pay to purchase property at auction. Bids are usually in standardized increments established by the auctioneer.

Bid Caller:

The person who actually "calls," "cries" or "auctions" the property at an auction, recognizing bidders and acknowledging the highest bidder. Commonly known as the auctioneer.

Bid Increments:

The standardized amount an item increases in price after each new bid. The auction service sets the increment, which rises according to the present high bid value of an item.

Bidder Number:

The number issued to each person who registers at an auction.

Buyer's Premium:

An additional service charge, for which the buyer is responsible, may be added to the price of sold items. If so, this will be indicated on the item page.

Clerk:

The person employed by the principal auctioneer or auction firm to record what is sold, to whom and for what price.

Consignee:

The auctioneer or auction house operator to whom goods are entrusted by another (consignor) for sale at auction.

Consignor:

The person or authorized agent or entity that consigns goods to an auctioneer. The consignor is usually the seller.

Lot:

An item or set of items for sale in an auction, lots are normally denoted by a "lot" number.

National Auctioneers Association:

A U.S. association of individual auctioneers united to maintain ethical standards for the auction profession; promote the enactment of just and reasonable laws, ordinances and regulations affecting auction selling; make the public more aware of the advantages of auction selling; and generally improve the business conditions affecting the auction profession.

Online/Virtual Auction:

An auction that is for online bidders only and is not conducted in front of a traditional live audience. These auction types may have reserve items in which the auctioneers bid in order to protect the reserve.

On-site Auction:

An auction conducted on the premises of the property being sold.

Reserve or Reserve Price:

The minimum price that a seller is willing to accept for an item to be sold at auction. This amount is never formally disclosed.