In a timed online auction, there is no auctioneer taking bids from a live audience in a room.
Instead, each lot can be bid on for a defined period of time. Bids are placed online. At the end of the period, the bidder who has submitted the highest bid wins the lot, provided the bid exceeds the reserve price. Timed auctions can typically last for up to a week or two.
All timed auctions have an end-time displayed on the lot page. You can bid at any point from when the auction opens to when it closes.
As a bidder, you can enter a max bid – the most you are willing to bid, using our set bidding increments and we do the rest. We will bid intelligently for you, bidding only enough for you to meet the reserve or stay in the lead.
Your max bid stays secret in our system. We won’t share your maximum bid with the auctioneer, the seller, other bidders, or anyone else for that matter.
You’ll see your ‘current bid’ when you log in and view the lot (often it will be less than your ‘maximum bid’). If someone bids higher than your maximum, we will send you an ‘outbid alert’ via email to let you know, so you can decide whether to bid more.
If a bid is placed in the final few minutes of the defined time period, the time period will be extended by a number of minutes. The auction house can set the number of minutes for its own auctions but typically on thesaleroom.com a bid placed in the final 10 minutes of the timed auction extends the closing time by 10 minutes.
This is to stop ‘sniping’ – a practice used by bidders on some other websites whereby they rush to place bids in the last few seconds to prevent other bidders being able to respond before the auction closes.
Step-by-step: what to do
Don’t forget, just like when you’re in an auction room, bidding online is a contractual commitment to buy.