How to win in timed auctions

While the irresistible thrill of being in an auction room still holds sway for many lovers of antiques and art, increasing numbers are also taking to timed auction sites to snap up lots from the comfort of their living rooms. However, if you’re new to virtual bidding it can be frustrating to find yourself repeatedly outbid in the dying seconds of the auction. We asked one site, Invaluable, to get their editors to share their advice on how to bid and beat the competition.

Timed auctionsBidding in any auction can be both exhilarating and overwhelming at the same time. If you most often work with an auctioneer in person or online, consider another option: the timed auction. Timed auctions run for a defined period of time, allowing bidders to register and place maximum bids on items with confidence. As the auction progresses, bidders have the opportunity to raise their bid amount.

For those who are navigating this format for the first time (or simply need a refresher), we’ll help guide you on your way to taking home your object of desire. Here are some how-to tips from our team and advice from some of our frequent timed auction-goers.

Bid at Your Own Pace

To bid on a lot, make an Invaluable account and register for the sale or register directly from the item’s information page.

Once registered for a timed auction, place your bid by entering your maximum bid – the highest hammer price you would be comfortable paying for the item. From there, Invaluable will place incremental bids on your behalf to ensure you remain the highest bidder up to your maximum bid. Placing a Maximum bid on a item secures that you will not go over your limit and allows time to correct mistakes. If two equivalent maximum bids are submitted, the first bid received will win the lot.

Monitor your bids in your member dashboard on the My Bids page or via email. If you are outbid, you will be notified and have time to increase your bid before the auction closes. The closing of a Timed Auction is determined by a defined end time. On Invaluable, the time and date listed for Timed Auctions is the time at which bidding closes. Be sure to place your bid before that time.

Control Your Auction Results

A timed auction ends at the time specified by the seller, however, extended bidding may occur if additional bids are placed in the last five minutes of the auction. This is to prevent last-minute bidders from sniping the lot, and to give all bidders a fair chance to acquire the piece.

If you are the highest bidder at the close of a lot, you will receive an email at the auction’s close notifying you of your purchase.

Invaluable team’s top tips

Timed auctions are slower-paced, making them easier to monitor and less intimidating than live auctions for novice bidders.

By looking at the number of views and bids on a lot in a timed auction, you can tell which lots are the most popular (and therefore worthy of your attention) as the end of the auction approaches.

Bidders cannot input a value below the reserve price set by the seller on timed lots, so you are guaranteed to win the lot if you are the highest bidder.

If you’re bidding on the go, you can opt into our Text Alerts to keep track of your item.

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