How do I bid on a hammer auction?

Hammer auctions are the traditional kind of auction where lots are hammered at some physical location with bidding on-site.

You can of course participate by showing up in person.

Some auction houses also accept phone bids. Contact the auction house for this.

Some auctions offer live bidding – participating online as the auction happens.

You can participate online by leaving an absentee bid (pre-bid) before the auction starts.

As with online auctions, your bid is the maximum amount you're willing to pay. When the auction takes place, we will bid on your behalf, as favorably as possible, up to that amount.

Absentee bids are usually not shown to others on the item page. They are most often hidden because the actual bidding doesn't take place until the day of the auction. Until then, absentee bids can be changed freely. Some auction houses do however choose to show the absentee bids before the auction.

Your absentee bid will contend against absentee bids left by others and any bids called out on-site.

Try to place your absentee bid as early as possible: in the event of a tie, the first placed absentee bid wins.

Absentee bidding closes a while before the auction will take place. The time at which absentee bidding closes is shown on the item page. Before that time, you can place and change absentee bids.

When the hammer auction has ended the auction house need to verify the bids. Because of this it can take around an hour or up to a day until we send out the emails about won auctions. Often you can still pay and collect the item at the auction house.

Looking for something else?