Know the Rules

Be familiar with the rules of the auction. Read the terms of sale carefully. Ask Key Auctioneers personnel if you have any questions. They will be happy to help.

Get a Bidder's Card

You must have a Bidder’s Card in order to buy at the auction. To get a Bidder’s Card, simply sign-up at the registration table.

Inspect Before the Auction

A “Preview Day” is almost always provided prior to the auction to give bidders an opportunity to inspect the goods to be auctioned. Use the opportunity to do your own evaluation and inspection. Remember, you are buying the items “AS IS” with no guarantees from the seller or auctioneer. The risk that an item is not exactly what you wanted should be considered when you decide how much to bid.

Know What You are Bidding On

Pay careful attention to which lots you are bidding on as well as how much you are bidding. You cannot retract a bid once the auctioneer has said “sold”. You are responsible for your bids.

Don't be Shy

Don’t be shy about bidding. Raise your bid card in the air if you want an item and keep it up until your bid has been acknowledged. Make certain the auctioneer sees your bid because the auctioneer may be taking bids from someone near you. Once the auctioneer says “sold”, the item is gone even if you are willing to continue bidding. There are no do-overs in the auction business.

Guard Your Property

As soon as the auctioneer says “sold,” ownership of the item changes hands. If you had the high bid, you now own it. If it is later stolen, you are still responsible for paying for it. Make sure you guard your property. Remember that you are welcome to pay the cashier as many times during the day as you like. If you want to take an item to your parked vehicle and then return to the auction, simply pay the cashier and show security your paid invoice when taking the item from the building.

Be Prepared to Bid

Most auctions are fast-moving by design. Generally, auctioneers don’t wait for slow bidders, so know what you’re spending on which item.


These two methods of bidding are sometimes used when there are multiples of the same item, for example five desks. If the auctioneer announces the bidding for the desks will be “Choice”, it means the winning bidder will have the choice of taking any one, two or more of the desks at the winning bid price. If the winning bidder bids $60, he or she has the choice of buying one, two, three, four or all five of the desks for $60 each. If the auctioneer announces the bidding will be “One Money”, it means the items will be sold in a single lot for one bid price. lf the winning bidder bids $60 for the desks, he or she has bought all five desks for a total of $60. The auctioneer will clearly announce any time items are being offered as Choice or One Money.


When an item is ready to be auctioned, the auctioneer calls out a lot number and brief description of the item. The auctioneer then ask for bids. The auctioneer continues to increase bid increments until the bidding stops. When the auctioneer senses no more bids will be forthcoming, he “drops the hammer” and says “Sold!” At that point, title transfers and the winning bidder now owns the item.

Recording the Sale

While the auction is taking place, auction personnel record the description of each auctioned item, the bidder’s number and the amount of the winning bid.

Multiple Rings

Some auctions are conducted with multiple “rings” going simultaneously. This means that two or more auctioneers will be selling different merchandise at the same time. Often the different rings will have different types of merchandise – for instance one ring might auction office equipment, while a second ring auctions manufacturing equipment. If you want to buy an item in one area or another, you will need to keep an eye on each ring so you know when to bid. Or better, have friends or colleagues cover the other rings. If you have any questions about how the auction will be run, just ask a Key Auctioneers representative.