Below is a list of common auction terms used at our sales:

As-Is, Where-Is

A standard condition of sale at most auctions, items are referred to as “as-is, where-is” to indicate that they are being accepted by the buyer in their present state and location. Items are sold based on the assumption that the buyer has inspected them to ensure that they meet their standards. Buyers are responsible for removing the item from its location per the terms of the sale.

Buyer’s Choice, Option

Buyer’s Choice or Option are purchased rights for the winning bidder of a series of lots to choose specific lots at the winning bid price.  Buyer’s Choice allows the winning bidder to purchase one or more items in any order, out of a group of lots defined by the auctioneer. Option allows the winning bidder the option of purchasing one or more items in lot number order, out of a group of lots defined by the auctioneer.

Buyer’s Premium

A fee payable to the auction firm for which the buyer is responsible.  This Buyer’s Premium, or BP, will be added to the successful bid price of all purchases and is not included in the hammer price of each lot.  Charging a buyer’s premium is a long-standing practice in the auction industry and it helps the auction house to cover administrative expenses.


“Lot Catalog, or Lot Book,” this is the listing of items for sale at a specific event. It is published on the website and distributed in hard copy at live auctions. The Lot Catalog is always subject to change and is meant to be used as a guide. The descriptions contained in a Lot Catalog are not guaranteed to be accurate, although we make every effort to ensure that they are.

Extended Bidding

In an online auction, when a bid is placed during the the last ten minutes before that lot is scheduled to close, additional time will be added to the time until closing. This is to prevent “sniping,” placing a bid at the last second to win it from another bidder, and to allow the bidder who has just been outbid to bid again if they want to purchase the lot at the next increment. This will continue to occur until there are no bids placed during the last ten minutes of an items closing time. The additional amount of time added is typically ten minutes, but this can vary.


Also called “Next Bid Increment” or “Bid Increment.” This is the amount by which the bidding is advanced.  It is either set manually by the auctioneer or is computer generated based on the current winning bid amount. Current Bid + Bid Increment = Next Allowable Bid.


A lot is a single offering of an item for sale.  A lot can be a single item or a collection of items offered.  Lots are offered either “as a Lot for one money” or “by the piece times the money” where bid amount is multiplied by the quantity or number of items in the lot.  For example: if 10 widgets are being offered “as a Lot”, and $20 was the winning bid, the price bid is $20 for all 10 widgets. If the same 10 widgets were being offered “by the piece time the money”, and $20 was the winning bid, the price bid is $20 x 10, or $200 for the 10 widgets. The price is exclusive of Buyers Premium and any taxes due.

Maximum Bid

The highest amount a bidder is willing to pay for an item at auction. In Online Auctions, a bidder may enter his or her Maximum Bid and allow the system to bid for them. This will prevent them from being outbid while not requiring them to monitor and bid repeatedly.

Next Allowable Bid

The lowest price you must bid to become the current highest bidder. This is the current bid plus the bid increment and may be set by the auctioneer or the online bidding system.

Online Auction

Also sometimes called a “Virtual Auction,” these sales are not conducted in front of a live audience. Participants must register and bid online. Online Auctions are timed: the bidding on them will close at a predetermined date and time (subject to Extended Bidding).

Opening Bid

Also called “Starting Bid.” This is a required price that must be met or exceeded for the first bid to be accepted as a qualifying bid.

Paddle Number, Bid Number

A paddle number is basically a bidder identification number. It is assigned when a bidder registers for a sale and is unique for each sale. The paddle number is used to identify the bidder throughout the auction event and billing procedures.

Private Treaty Sale

Also sometimes referred to as a Negotiated, Sealed Bid or Tender Sale, a Private Treaty Sale is one in which non-published bids are submitted within a specified period of time.  One of our Project Managers will negotiate with potential buyers on the seller’s behalf. When the bidding period is closed, the seller will decide which bid, if any, to accept. The winning bid need not be the highest; varying terms of sale and circumstances are taken into consideration by the seller.

Proxy Bid

Also called Absentee Bid, a proxy bid is submitted before the sale and allows the auctioneer to bid on behalf of the bidder. This is for bidders who either cannot be physically present or who feel more comfortable having the auctioneer do the bidding.  A proxy bid is a bid given by a bidder as the maximum amount that the buyer is willing to pay, excluding Buyer’s Premium and any applicable taxes.  The auctioneer will bid on behalf of the proxy bidder trying to buy the lots for the lowest amount possible without exceeding the maximum.  The auctioneer typically does not announce that he/she is bidding on behalf of a proxy bidder.  There are times when the auctioneer will be bidding for multiple proxy bidders on the same lot. Proxy Bid forms are available for download here.

Reserve Price

A minimum selling price for which a lot can be sold.  Reserve prices are typically set by the seller.  Minimum selling prices may or may not be published or announced.  They may not reflect market value.

Watch List

The Watch List allows you to save items of interest and track them easily from your account. Your Watch List is visible at the bottom of any lot page on the website and in My Account. From there, you can link directly to the item to see the activity or place a bid.

Webcast Auction

A Webcast Auction is a live auction that is broadcast via the internet and allows bidders who cannot be physically present to bid from practically anywhere. Through our custom webcast system, bidders can watch and listen to the live sale online and bid in real time from their computer, tablet or cell phone. No telephone call is required. This offers a live, real-time “almost as good as being there” experience for bidders worldwide.

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