So you have never been to an auction before. Maybe you are afraid to go because you thought you might buy something if you scratched your nose. Maybe you thought you wouldn’t be able to understand what the auctioneer was saying. Put your worries aside and “catch auction fever”. When you first arrive at an auction, take time to inspect the items that are going to be sold, then register for a bidder number. The bidder number will be used to identify you whenever you purchase an item.
The auctioneer will ask for an opening bid for each item that is being sold. You may raise your hand, nod, or get the auctioneers attention some other way to indicate your willingness to bid that amount – or you may offer a lower opening bid. Once the auctioneer has an opening bid, he will start his chant at that amount and ask for a higher bid. The auctioneer will continue asking for incremental increases until the bidding stops. At that point the auctioneer will sell the item to the highest bidder. Keep in mind you can stop bidding at any time if an item is selling for more than you wish to pay.
The auctioneer’s chant will be composed of numbers and filler words. The numbers are an incremental counting such as 10, 15, 20, 25, etc. (and represent the amount of money that has been bid or is being asked to be bid). The numbers are the important thing to listen to, and bidders generally have no problem understanding the numbers. The filler words (which aren’t really that important to the bidder, and which the beginning bidder may not completely understand) simply fill the space between the numbers – how much has been bid, and how much is being asked to be bid.
When the numbers and the filler words are put together the auctioneer has created an auction chant that has a rhythmic flow that is pleasing to the audience and that allows the auctioneer to sell a large number of items in a relatively short period of time. The auctioneers chant is necessary in order create interest in the auction and create a rapid pace that will sell a large number of items in a relatively short period of time. A typical auction chant would sound something like this – “I am bid 10 dollars, would you give me 15 dollars, would you bid 15 dollars, I’m bid 15 dollars, would you bid 20 dollars, would you give me 20, will you be a 20 dollar bidder, I am bid 20, would you give me 25, …”.
Most first time auction goers tell auctioneers that they had no trouble understanding what the auctioneer said, and they also stated that they wished they had attended an auction sooner! Do not be afraid to ask someone on the auctioneer’s staff if you are not sure of what the bid is, if you do not understand the auctioneer, or if you need help understanding the auction process. Remember, every experienced auction bidder (at one time or another) attended their “first auction.” So attend an auction and “catch the auction bug”. It won’t be long until you too are a seasoned auction pro.