Online auctions are getting more and more popular. Fact. According to the Antiques Trade Gazette, key market indicators comparing year-on-year figures have seen a 41% rise in the number of lots sold via live bidding. This is great news for the industry.

Whilst live bidding has been the tried and tested method of bidding at live online auctions, for those who simply don’t have the time to be sat by the computer waiting for bids to be called, it can be problematic and frustrating, especially if you have other commitments or live on the other side of the world.

As such, the evolution of online auctions has identified other ways for bidders to get involved – one that is more convenient to the average bidder. With live auctions typically taking place during the day, for those who work and have families to spend time with, taking part in an auction is simply a lot harder than first thought.

If only there was another way? Cue timed bidding.

What is timed bidding?

Timed bidding auctions allow you to bid at any time during a defined time period, simply by entering your maximum bid. Timed auctions take place without an auctioneer calling the sale so you don’t have to wait for your lot to be called. This means that as a bidder you don’t have to keep your eye on a live auction at a specific time, allowing you to focus at work, spend time with the family or not have to get up at a ridiculous hour if you’re bidding from half way around the world.

How does timed bidding work?

By entering a maximum bid you’re indicating the highest you’re willing to pay for a lot. An automated bidding service will bid on your behalf to ensure that you meet the reserve price or that you always stay in the lead, up to your maximum bid. If someone else has placed a bid that is higher than your maximum bid, you will be notified, allowing you to change your maximum bid and stay in the auction. At the end of the auction, whoever’s maximum bid is the most wins the lot.

How is it different to live bidding?

Live bidding is a traditional room-based auction. These can be broadcast via a website where you can hear live audio and see live video feeds. The idea is that you place your bid over the Internet in real-time. Effectively it’s like being at a real auction, in the comfort of your own home. Timed bidding on the other hand is a separate auction all together, which allows you to participate without the need to see or hear the live event.  It’s another way of bidding, that is more convenient to the bidder.

How can I place a timed bid?

It couldn’t be easier to place a timed bid. Using the web page of the auctioneer who offers timed auctions.  Firstly you will need to register and possibly pay a returnable deposit if you lose.  The auctioneers will give you step-by-step instructions which are usually very easy to follow.

Step One – Search for a timed auction

These are kept up to date by GAUK – just type in your requirements and we will do the rest.

Step Two – Placing your bid

First of all, you need to be signed up to the timed auction in order to bid. So select your timed auction, sign up, then browse the auction’s lots and select the one on which you wish to place a bid.

Locate the maximum bid section on the right hand side, and enter the maximum amount you wish to bid. Click the ‘bid’ button. You’ll then be presented with a confirmation box, to either ‘confirm’ or ‘cancel’ your bid. If you’ve entered the wrong amount, click ‘cancel’ and re-enter the amount. If it’s the right amount, click ‘confirm’.

Step Three – Staying In the lead

For any bidder, staying in the lead is the most important part. So, if you’ve placed a maximum bid, which is leading, we’ll tell you; first of all when you place the bid, but also on the right hand side, above your maximum bid section.

Step Four – When you are outbid

You will be informed when you are no longer the highest bidder, via an email alert. When this happens, you’ll see on your account a red box saying, ‘you have been outbid’,

Simply change increase your maximum bid.

Step Five – Viewing your timed auction(s)

To give you an idea how they work in practice, go to this auction house here.  One of the biggest in the country.   It will take away any fear when you realise how simple it is.

Pretty well anything csn be bought through these timed auctions and usually the auctioneers will give an in-depth description.   A word of warning though – if you are thinking of buying a car or even a house, please ensure you have thoroughly researched such a lrge purchase.

Articles available cover the whole spectrum of A – Z with certain surprising options.  Even the DVLA has taken this route to offer several timed auctions a year, also the Poce. HMRC so sit at your computer, relax, have a cup of coffee and join in the fun!!!

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