How To Handle Your First Auction

Stepping into an auction house in Palm Beach can be intimidating, especially if you’re a novice bidder. The good news is that there are a variety of different types of auctions going on at different price ranges, so you don’t have to be a member of the billionaire set in order to come home with something you like. However, there are cases where a few novice mistakes can lead to you overbidding or potentially missing out on a piece that you weren’t aware of, but would have really wanted. Here are some basic tips for novices to get the most out of their auctions.

The first thing you should do is get in the habit of research when it comes to heading to an auction. The reason for this is that the best way to bid effectively is to know exactly what it is you are bidding on. It’s okay if you don’t have a lot of knowledge on the subject, just bring on an expert. The best way to connect with skilled appraisers and other experts is to ask experienced collectors who they trust. Note that it’s best to pay for added help and the best databases rather than opting for free ones. These can lead to misleading results.

If you’re a newcomer and a bit worried about your impulse control, it may be a good idea to start your bidding with an absentee bid. An absentee bid allows you to bid the exact amount your budget allows or what the expert recommends, allowing you to automatically win out on any ties that you get with a live bid. In these situations, it’s best for you to try and pick a bid that’s above a typical threshold, like $21,000 over $20,000. This little bit extra may allow you to win a bid over getting a tie bid.

If you opt to go for an in-person bidding experience, and it’s worth doing at least once, you’ll get an idea of how things run very quickly. For example, the bulk of art dealers tend to sit in the first few rows and make subtle gestures for their bids. The reason for this is that they will likely be reselling the work down the line, so they want to keep things private. Another thing to note is that this often means the auctioneer will be focused on those rows. Make sure that you sit on a side seat so even if the auctioneer doesn’t notice you, the spotters will, so your bid gets counted.