auctioneerBidding at auction can seem intimidating. The crowd, the auctioneers tables covered in interesting objects sum up to a sensory overload. However, I am here to help guide you through the bidding process at auction. With the help of these few tips you will have the confidence to go into any auction and raise your hand to bid – you might just have a hard time keeping it down.

Step 1: Attend the Preview

The “Preview” in auction world is a set date and time before the auction (usually a day or two before) that the public may see what is being offered in the next sale. At Whitehalls we hold our previews in the same location that our auctions are held at, The Canadian Martyrs Catholic Church, 38 Emerson Street, Hamilton. We hold them Fridays 10am-8pm. At our previews we hand out a paper listing that briefly describes each lot in the order they are sold.

Step 2: Ask Questions

We hope that while at the preview you might see something that sparks your curiousity or the “I gotta have it” attitude – this is normal and encouraged. If you have any questions about a particular lot we advise you to ask a staff member. Asking one of us is a great way to find out about the condition of the piece, history of it, and an auction estimate. We do not post auction estimates in our listings so by asking “how much do you think it will go for?” or “what is the estimate on this lot?” is a great way to gauge your own bidding budget.

Step 3: Auction Day

You have made it to the day of the auction! You have your listing filled with notes and circled the lots that you want – you are ready. On auction day you will be required to “register” at the desk for a bid card number. You will be asked to fill out a short form with your contact information and in exchange you will receive a number, this is yours for the day. The auctioneer sells lots at a pace that is manageable to keep up with – no fast talking country auctioneers at Whitehalls. As soon as the auctioneer begins all you have to do is raise your number when the lot you want is up and make sure the auctioneer sees you. Have fun!

Step 4: Absentee Bidding

If you are unable to attend the auction in person Whitehalls offers “absentee” bidding. This is when a staff member will bid on your behalf in your absence. If you ask a staff member on the day of the preview we can provide you with an absentee bid form to fill out with as many lots as you like with your “Maximum Bid”. This is the highest amount that you would be willing to get the item for. The other column on the form is “Plus One”. If you check off Plus One that indicates to us that if your maximum bid goes to another bidder you would have one more chance, by going one increment higher, to get the lot.

Step 5: Cash Out

Congratulations! You were a successful bidder on some items. If you were bidding in the room you can go to the payment desk (same as registration) and pay for your items. If you were an absentee bidder we contact you after the dust of the auction has settled and arrange a time for pick up or delivery. At Whitehalls we ask that you pay for the items first and allow one of our staff members to check off the items on your invoice. This step is to ensure that everything you have purchased is in the same condition as when you first saw it. Whitehalls applies a “Buyer’s Premium” to the sub-total of the items. This is common auction practice as it is one of the ways that we make our revenue. Whitehalls charges a 10% Buyer’s Premium. Applicable tax is also added. We accept payments through cash, Visa, Mastercard, Debit and cheque with identification.

Step 6: Enjoy the day!

Take advantage of observing the flurry of activity at our auction. In no time you will see why it can be addictive.