Didn’t Win The House Of Representatives Bookcase

by John Werry on April 20, 2009

house-representatives-bookcaseJust a quick note to pass on very bad news confirmed this morning.

I didn’t win the House of Representatives Bookcase that I bid on this weekend at the Harlowe Powell sale. Apparently my $1,625.00 bid was not enough to trump the winning $1,600 bid.

Update: see later post with new information.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

james conrad April 20, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Another dirty little secret in the auction house biz is, auctioneers have their “pets” or favorites among dealers/collectors which can bring a hammer down before someone else has a chance to bid.

I am not saying that happened here but it does happpen.


RareVictorian April 20, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Yes, not suggesting it happened here, but it seems that there is no way to get bid transparency anywhere.

It is also strange that there is failure on rare case-by-case basis and not for a series of items in a row.


james conrad April 20, 2009 at 3:37 pm

Assuming you left an absentee bid days earlier than sale and auctioneer had that bid in his hand, and assuming auctioneer could not get $1700 on floor, why would he not try and get 1650 while announcing to floor that he had 1625?


Craig Phillips April 21, 2009 at 10:44 am

some auctioneer’s have a set bid jump amount that they will work with, by $10’s up to $100. by $25 from $100. up to $1000. by $50 from $1000 up to ? amount was below there bid jump amount?? just a guess, some auctioneers are bull headed this way they think the small amounts of bid jumps are below their demands, and a waste of their time, I think even if its a buck it is more than you had,


Nevin April 21, 2009 at 11:09 am

Looks like someone did not do their homework…the bidding increments are generally posted. A person needs to bid accordingly. The auctionhouse does not take bids according to “your” bids, but the way they fall on the live floor…in this case maybe 100 increments which would have probably been 1700 for the next increment. Your bid of 1625 fell thru the cracks because you did not bid following those guidelines. I have personally seen bids of 1601 in cases as this…expecting to be the high bidder. The auctioneer should respect the stated increments for the current and all bidders…and not sellout the current high bidder for a “special” sellout bid of 1.00 or 25.00 just because someone did not bid understand the increments. This would be the correct procedure for live/floor auctions as well as “technical” inet bidding. If someone bids understanding this their feelings would not be hurt because they got “sold out” to a “special bidder”.

I hope this may add some light to this situation which I have seen happen many, many, many times…even before the days of inet bidding-left bids. Note – Always bid according to the increments noted and a logical sequence that the live auctioneer can follow. Example – 1500…1600…1700. Not 1525…1625…1725.


Nevin April 21, 2009 at 11:17 am

Just noted where you said their increments wer 25.00, which would be correct in your case.
But many times live auctions are fast and the inet has to follow the auction pace and inet bids get lost in that action. being an auctioneer, in most cases do attempt to get the highest dollar, much to the chagrin of many.
Most terms and conditions do apologize for this kind of action that can fall thru the cracks in an imperfect world. The best procedure if any item is desired is to be there in person and that is not neccesarily a perfect guarantee.


RareVictorian April 21, 2009 at 11:31 am

Thanks, Nevin. It makes sense.

When I bid I had assumed that their absentee bid system was accepting bids in-line with auction house increments.

Other online absentee bidding systems I have used have forced me to bid “up” or down to the increment. This one allowed me to bid in between.

When I asked the auction house why I didn’t win, they did not explain that the scenario that you describe was the reason. They “didn’t know what happened”.

However, it appears that it is likely that my bid was not at the proper increment even though the system accepted it.


RareVictorian April 21, 2009 at 11:38 am

I now have all the information and a response from H-P so I will update everyone on a new post.


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