How to bid

If you are new to auctions they can seem a little overwhelming. But, we are here to help! Every auction offers multiple ways to bid. The first step is always registration: 

Bidding Live in the Gallery: Bidders join us in the gallery during the auction as the auctioneer calls bids to the crowd.  If you wish to bid you must register (free of charge) at the front desk to get a bidding number.  Once you are registered you may bid on any item you wish.  You are never required to bid just because you are registered.  

If you happen to be the winning bidder you are required to pay before you leave the gallery. We request, if at all possible, you take your items with you.

Bidding Live Online (Remotely): This option allows you to bid from anywhere that you have internet access.  You must register on an online platform (we use Live Auctioneers, Invaluable, and Auction Zip) and be approved by our office.  Once approved you are eligible to bid live during the allotted auction time.  Once the auction begins an employee in the gallery will run the online terminal in sync with the auctioneer, this allows you to bid remotely in real time.  You will receive an emailed invoice after the auction to confirm any items you won.  Post auction, you may either pick up your items in person or contact our third party shippers to have the items shipped to you.  

Leaving an Absentee Bid: If you are unable to bid live in the gallery or live online you still have an option!  Once you fill out and sign our absentee bid form a staff member will enter your absentee bid, which is then executed on your behalf by the auctioneer during the live auction.  You may also register to leave an absentee bid on our website.  

Remember, when you place an absentee bid leave the highest value you are interested in paying.  Sometimes you pay less if no one bids against your bid, and sometimes you are outbid.  Post auction, you may either pick up your items in person or contact our third party shippers to have the items shipped to you.  

Phone Bidding: For Collector and Specialty auctions we offer phone bidding as an option.  Once you fill out and sign our absentee bid form you will be eligible to bid by phone during the live auction.  At the appropriate time a staff member will contact you via phone and relay your bids to the auctioneer.  


Absentee Bid Form (.pdf)


A few helpful tips: 

  • We offer the lots in numerical order (i.e. 1, 2, 3, etc.) – we average about 80 lots per hour depending on the type of sale.  We recommend coming early if you have an item in mind so you don’t miss it.  Once it’s sold, it’s gone!
  • There is a buyer’s premium added to every invoice as well as state tax – keep this in mind when budgeting.  Please refer to the terms and conditions of each individual auction for current buyer’s premium rates.
  • Estimates are just that: an educated guess decided upon by our staff based on auction records, condition, rarity etc.  We open bidding at half of the low estimate unless an absentee bid has already surpassed it.
  • Always make sure to closely examine any items that interest you in person.  We work hard to mention/photograph any damage, but all bidders should take a look too.  Can’t view items in the gallery?  Contact us and we would be happy to send you a condition report.
  • Here is a list of auction lingo that will help you go from novice to pro in no time!
  • When in doubt, contact us! Call us at (540) 384-0100 or email to info@farmer-auctions.com