WELCOME TO YOUR FIRST AUCTION!
Many people are intimidated by auctions. They fear being recognized for bids they never intended to make, are confused by the array of items, are unclear about terms or phrases used by the auctioneer and his staff, or they have difficulty making their minds in the fast paced barrage of the auctioneer's cadence. Well put those fears to rest folks as this page is designed to help all you become acquainted with attending and participating in public auctions with positive results.
Acquire a Bidder Number
Once you arrive at the auction your first stop should be to stop by our camper for a bidder number and a sale bill. You will be asked to show your driver's license for ID purposes. You will then manually record your personal information (name, address, phone number, and SSN) on a bidder's ticket. The stub of that ticket containing your personal information and bidder's number must be given to the clerk. You retain the other half of the bidder's ticket containing your bidder's number in large print as seen in Figure 1 below. You must register at each sale you attend.
Check Out the Merchandise
If you haven't reviewed any newspaper advertisements or this website concerning items for sale at the auction, feel free to get yourself acquainted with the items for sale before and during the auction by meandering through the items. We recommend arriving an hour in advance of the start to get a good look at the items you're interested in. Feel free to ask the auctioneers or clerks before the sale for the path they plan to follow when selling items...that way you won't be waiting hours just to see your interested item go up for sale. Typically for household or smaller auctions we set up tables, while for auctions of larger merchandise we arrange them in rows. Auction sale bills outlining the items for sale at the auction are usually located at the clerk's table for pick-up.
Expect Large Crowds
If you are timid of being around large groups of people an auction may not be for you as attendance can range from 100-1500 people at our auctions typically.
Once the auction begins you will notice one of the most identifiable features of an auction...the auctioneer's rattle. In it's fundamental form, the rapid-fire, quick-cadence combination of numbers, words, and sounds is the auctioneer's method of communicating with you. Often amplified by a microphone, the auctioneer's voice rises above the din of the crowd and assistants to maintain order and demand the attention of prospective bidders. If, for instance, a person is erroneously recognized for a bid, the auctioneer has the discretion and power to make things right. And, naturally, the auctioneer wants to do so, because auctioneers want people to feel comfortable and safe at auctions. Whatever the situation, the auctioneer's voice organizes and controls the proceedings.
Typical chants include "Have four hundred dollars bid...who will give five?", which translates that the auctioneer "has a bid of $400 (on a particular item) .... are you willing to give $500?" Raise your hand or show your bidder's card, indicating that you are interested in the current item being bid on. Once the auctioneer yells "SOLD!" it signals the end of bidding and the buyer with the highest bid acquires the item.
Bidding at Auctions
Multiple items are sometimes sold to the highest bidder, times the number of items. It is important to listen to the instructions being given by the auctioneer from the auction block. Throughout the auction, the auctioneer will advise you that a particular item will be sold, for example, "times three", meaning that your bid amount is for each of the three items being sold at the time. So a bid of $10 per item means a total purchase price of $30.
Multiple items are also sold for "one price", meaning the three items being sold (as in the above example), will go to the highest bidder. Your bid of $25 means a total purchase price of $25. Again, LISTEN TO THE AUCTIONEER!
After items are declared "sold" they become the Buyer's. It is the Buyer's responsibility to secure the items, pay for them, and remove them from the auction site.
Payment terms are outlined on your Bidder's Number Card. All purchases are to be paid in full on sale day. We accept cash or check. You do not need to show your ID again if you are writing a check - this information was taken when you first registered your Bidder's Number Card. Sales tax is not charged on any purchases.
Leaving an Auction
You can leave the auction at any time. You do not need to wait until the auction is over to settle your purchases with our clerk. As you purchase items, they are charged to your bidder number. When you are ready to leave, see the clerk to pay your bill. If an item is missed, you will be billed by Coldwater Auction Service after the sale. We ask, though, that you try to keep track of your purchases so that transactions can be completed in full on sale day.
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