One of our customers called and wanted to know what the term "left" bid meant. We explained that a "left" bid means the bidder could not stay to watch the item sell, so he or she left a bid with the auctioneer. The auctioneer bids for the customer as though they were still present. If they are the successful buyer, the auction house advises the customer to pay for and pick up the item.
It occurred to us that we should list some of the terms we use in the auction business on this web site for your reference. This is not inclusive, but we'll add definitions as they come up. Don't ever skip an auction that interests you because you don't understand the "lingo" or the buying process. Give us a call before you go and we'll help you figure it out.
2 Times The Money: method of selling in which a number of similar items are offered for sale, with the successful bidder taking one, two or "x" items multiplied by the amount of the successful bid.
Absolute Auction: an auction at which there are no reserve amounts on merchandise being sold.
Auctioneer: the job of an auctioneer at an auction is to accept the current bid on an item from a bidder and raise to the next bid. Auctioneers are also often the event manager and promoter of the auction.
Bid: amount of money offered by a bidder for an item. The auctioneer's job is to accept the current offer and raise the bid to the next increment.
Buyer: registered bidder at an auction. Successful bidder on an item.
Buyer's Premium: an amount of money added to the buyer's winning bid. For example, if the auctioneer charges a 10% buyers premium, and the buyer successfully buys an item for $1,000, the total price the buyer will pay for the item is $1,100.
Cashier: the person(s) who register you when you arrive at the auction and collect your money when you leave.
Chant: the language the auctioneer uses to accept the current bid and raise to the next bid. Every auctioneer has a different chant and speed. Livestock and automobile auctioneers usually sell the fastest; household and general merchandise auctioneers sell at a medium tempo; and real estate, heavy equipment and other high dollar auctioneers sell at a slower tempo.
Chinese Auction: an auction in which the bids are collected in full by the ring people when the bid is given. If the next bidder bumps the bid $10, (s)he throws $10 in the hat. This method is slower than a traditional auction, but a good way for buyers to donate smaller amounts of money on many items.
Choice: method of selling in which a number of similar items are offered for sale, with the successful bidder taking first "choice" of all the items offered for sale.
Clerk: the person accompanying the auctioneer who records the winning bid and winning bidder number.
Clerking Ticket: a small piece of paper that the clerk passes to the cashier with the lot number of the item, description, winning bid number and sale price.
Deposit: an amount of money bidders may be required to place with the cashier in order to get a bid number. This is usually refunded if the bidder does not purchase any merchandise at the auction.
Fair Warning: a term used by some auctioneers to indicate bidding is about to end.
Left Bid: means the bidder could not stay to watch the item sell, so he or she left a bid with the auctioneer. The auctioneer bids for the customer as though they were still present. If they were the successful buyer, the auction house calls the customer and makes arrangements to pick up the item.
Reserve: an amount of money below which the seller will not let the item sell. It is important to know if the auction is an "absolute" auction, at which there are no reserves, or if items in the sale have reserve amounts on them.
Ring Man: the person(s) who show merchandise currently being offered for sale and catch bids for the auctioneer.
Runner: the person who runs information from the clerk to the cashier. (Note: computerized auctions do not use runners, as the information passes from the clerk to the cashier electronically.)
Sale: another term for an auction. The auctioneer will often welcome you to "the sale".
Sales Tax: we all know what it is, but you have to remember it differs by location. At some auctions you may not pay any sales tax, but in other areas you may pay a significant amount.
Seller: owner of the merchandise being sold. Whoever holds title to what is being sold. (Not always a person. Can be any legal entity.
Silent Auction: an auction at which goods are displayed and bidders enter written bids in a given time period. When time is up, the highest bid wins the item. Silent Auctions are very popular at charity events.
Sold: word used by the auctioneer to indicate bidding has ended and the item has in fact been sold to the highest bidder.
Subasta: Spanish for "auction."
Subastador: Spanish (male) for "auctioneer." A female auctioneer is a "subastadora."