The E-Sylum:  Volume 7, Number 38, September 19, 2004, Article 4


  In response to the Paul Bosco "terms of sale" discussion,
  Bob Metzger writes: "I don't "consistently" use minimum
  bids as a guide in auctions, but I do use them "often" for
  items that I am not terribly familiar with, or that are of
  secondary importance in my area(s) on interest. If I can
  get such items at a bargain, I'll take them, but I would not
  pay a premium for them.  And if I do get them at a bargain,
  it is a sale that would have otherwise either not happened,
  or happened at an even lower price. So, is that a Bad

  When it comes to items that I know for certain I want, I
  bid the price that I feel the item is worth to me. That
  amount may range anywhere from minimum bid to 4-5
  times minimum bid. I will typically take a look at what that
  item (or similar items) has brought in sales over the past few
  years, see how that aligns with the value the item will
  provide for me, and bid accordingly.  The perceived value
  it will provide for me varies widely.  For example, a particular
  book may be considered a classic reference an area in which
  I have only modest interest, with only a single chapter devoted
  to an area of high interest to me, in which case I will likely
  be outbid by someone with high interest in the area for
  which the book is considered indispensable. But for a book
  that I consider indispensable in my area(s) of interest, I place
  a strong bid.  The same general evaluation process also
  applies to a coin.  If it's seldom seen, has great eye appeal,
  etc., I'll place a strong bid.

  I understand to some extent the complaint about someone
  always using minimum bids as a guide, in the sense that it
  generates extra work for the seller.  But I think that is just
  part of the cost of doing ANY business that involves selling
  non-essential goods or services. Even in the best economic
  times, people look for bargains.  They look for discounts
  and "deals," and dicker when they can for food, clothing,
  cars, homes, and lots of other things, including numismatic

  Dick Johnson writes: "Last week?s item on bidding etiquette
  was, in effect, polite restrictions on the bidder. When I was
  in the auction business I compiled a list of ten items to AID
  the bidder and included this in all my Johnson & Jensen
  auctions. This list appealed to fellow medal dealer Rich
  Hartzog who asked for permission to publish in his auction
  catalogs.  As in most of all numismatics, other dealers of
  the same specialty are more like friends rather than
  competitors. Permission granted.

  Numismatic auction houses wish to encourage bidders but
  do not want problems. Every auction sale has a "Terms of
  Sale" which every bidder should read.  This will eliminate
  those pesky problems. Every auction house has the right to
  set their own terms. Bidders must accept these terms.

  But how about suggestions to aid your bidding? Here were
  my ten tips:

  1. Examine the entire catalog a minimum of three times.

  2. Mark the lots each time, or make a separate list of the
      lots which interest you.

  3. For the lots you want the most, bid the absolute highest
     amount you would pay. Do not place yourself in the position
    of having to say after the auction "If I had only bid $1 or $10
     [or $100] more I would have won that lot!" Most lots that
     are lost could have been won by one or two more advances.
      ... Note: In most instances you will receive the lot for less
     than this highest amount?depending upon competitive

  4. For less expensive lots?say under $20?you may bid in
      odd-cent amounts. [Most auction houses now demand
      only full dollar amounts.]

  5. Then go through your selected lots again and bid on those
      you would buy if the price were right.  Ask yourself if you
      would buy this lot at  low estimate or below?  [Most auction
      terms reject bids less than half estimate -- waste of time!]

  6. Finally go through the entire catalog again to see if you
      missed anything you really want.

  7. Then total your bids. Very few bidders get everything they
      bid on. But don?t bid over your budget, or your ability to
      pay for any or all on which you bid.

  8. Consider checking the "increase boxes" on the bid sheet
       ("Increase my bid by __%)?if you can afford it. This is a
       technique for advancing your mail bids as if you were
       bidding on the floor in competition with other bidders in
       the auction room. It will only be used if necessary.

  9. Fill out the bid sheet. Be careful with your figures! More
      errors are made in this step than in any other. Remember
      ? you are responsible for every bid on that sheet even if it
     is on the wrong lot, or the wrong amount!  The auctioneer
     must act on the bid sheet; if you give him wrong figures it is
     not his fault. Double check your bid sheet!

  10. Mail early! In every auction tie bids are awarded to the
        earliest received. "

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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