“My mother’s vase is worth at least a hundred of those.”
Sure, a $5 starting bid on a priceless vase doesn’t sound like a lot if it’s the sticker price.
Luckily, starting bids aren’t sticker prices. Price is determined by the audience because an auction is almost the purest form of a free market.
This can be unsettling for some because auctions don’t come with guarantees and their success depends on the audience. But auctions do come with the chance to sell an item higher than the anticipated price they just need a competitive audience that is educated on the items they’re bidding on.
We largely serve two audiences at Auction Nation: General and single vertical.
Our general audience bids on merchandise items and store return auctions. These items sell between 50% off retail and 90%. But they aren’t typically high-value just home-goods, electronics and other, more everyday, stuff. These auctions are great for eBay re-sellers and bargain hunters.
The single vertical audience is there for one thing. These are our restaurant auctions, high-value equipment, antiques and other more niche auctions. These run a little differently. The audience at these auctions know what they want and what they’re willing to pay to get it. That atmosphere drives them to keep bidding.
How our Auctions Work
We don’t think your item is worth $5 but it is only worth as much as the bidders are willing to pay for it. We work hard to collate the right audience for your auctions and create competitive atmosphere that will put a fair price on your valuables.
Most of our auctions have a $5 starting bid and we’ve seen items with that starting price go for a couple thousand and close to retail. It depends on the item and its condition. Bidders know something good when they see it. If an item that is valued at a certain amount we might start the auction off a little higher (this applies to property and vehicles).
Bids increase by a proportionate amount. When the item hits $100, the next bid can’t be $100.50 it has to be at least $110. This keeps bidders from losing interest and the auction from getting held up by a few dollars.
Finding the Audience
We know putting rare coins in front of bargain hunters is not going to get very close to fair value. However, new bathroom fixtures in front of house flippers creates a competitive auction where everything ends up at a fair price.
It’s about making sure that when we do an auction we get the appropriate bidder base. To do this we work with our consignors to get key information. So if a consignor wants to auction off a valuable with us, they need to provide us with information that helps. We want to emphasize the value of the item and find bidders that understand that value.
The $5 starting bid is just where your bidders start. It does not reflect the value of your item. If your mother’s vase is evaluated at $12000, the people bidding on it will know. Then they’ll be willing to bid up to that unless it was over-evaluated to begin with.