What is "written bid"?

During a hammer auction, the auctioneer might state that there is a "written bid" or "back to customer support".

Written bids may be absentee bids (advance bids from bidders) or the seller's reserve price.

The bidding for each lot starts out with a written bid: either an amount based on the seller's valuation, or the lowest possible amount based on the leading absentee bid.

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