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Absentee Bidding at Auction

Absentee bids are also referred to as "order bids" or "left bids".

Boston Harbor Auctions recommends if bidders wish to leave a bid; after carefully reviewing the item you wish to bid on at our antique preview, you may fill out one of our absentee bid forms or submit one online.

During the auction, a member of our staff will execute your bids on your behalf. The bidding will begin when the auctioneer opens the item and asks for an opening bid. The bids will typically ascend according to the bid increments set prior to the auction, although there are instances when a floor bidder might cut their bid in half of the bid increment in an effort to snipe a particular item in which case the increments change for that particular lot. Keep in mind that any left bids will compete with floor bidders, phone and internet bidders.

I left a bid for $300 and didn't win but the item sold for $300, how did this happen?

An example of this might be if the auctioneer opens a lot at $225, for instance, and there are no takers at that number, he/she will execute your bid at $225. If there are no other bidders, then your $300 bid turned into a $225 win. However, if the bid is with you at $225 and someone in the audience decides to bid $250, then the auctioneer will execute your bid at $275. If there are no takers, your $300 bid turns into a $275 win. If someone out bids you at $300 then you would be unsuccessful at that $300 bid just out of circumstance as to when your bid was executed. The auctioneer uses his best discretion when opening bids however, he/she and no one else can ever know what strategy is in the mind of another bidder. The bidder may be waiting for the bids to drop before they place a bid, when they find the bid is against them, they will bid up. Or, they may not want to bid on an item and if they find they might win it for only $250, they might find that to be a good deal and they bid at the last minute.