AARE Letters following an auctioneer’s name, meaning “Accredited Auctioneer of Real Estate.”

Absentee Bid A bid on a lot left in advance of the auction with someone—often the auctionee—by a bidder who’s unable to attend.

Absentee Bidder A person who may not attend the sale but submits, in advance, a written or oral bid that’s the top price he/she will pay for a given property.

Absentee Bid/Proxy Bid A bid on an item that a bidder leaves without being physically present.

Absolute Auction An auction that has no “reserve price” set by the seller. The winning bid only has to meet or beat the minimum price set by the seller or the auction house.

Accounting An auctioneer's financial report to the seller detailing all sales made, money received and money disbursed.

Agent Someone authorized by a person to act for him or her. An auctioneer is an agent of a seller.

AMM Letters following an auctioneer's name, meaning "Auction Marketing Management" Designation.

Appraisal An estimate of an item's value

Apprentice A few states require those who would become licensed auctioneers to serve an apprenticeship for a specified period under the direction of a licensed auctioneer.

“A Rock" A bidder who won't yield to competition.

"As Is" Selling assets without any warranty as to their condition and merchantability for a particular use.

Auction The sale of property by means of exchanges between an auctioneer and bidders whereby the auctioneer declares a sale to the highest, or most favorable bidder, to form a contract for sale between that bidder and the seller.

Auction Block The podium or raised platform where the auctioneer stands while conducting the auction. "Placing an item on the auction block" means to sell something at auction.

Auction Fever The rush of excitement that seizes some bidders and spurs them to bid higher on a lot.

Auction House The business entity setting up an auction from accepting items for auction, making them ready for public sale, accepting payments and delivering sold items to successful bidders.

Auction Subject to Confirmation This is a variation on an "auction with reserve." The auctioneer brings the top bid on a lot to the seller who then accepts or rejects it.

Auction with Reserve The seller reserves the right to accept or reject any and all bids, or to withdraw the lot at any time prior to the announcement of the completion of the sale. See also "reserve price."

Auction without Reserve The lot will be sold to the highest bidder regardless of price and with no contingencies. No one may bid on behalf of the seller and the auctioneer may not refuse to accept any bid. Commonly called an "absolute auction."

Auctioneer The person engaged by the seller to conduct the auction. The person whom the seller engages to direct, conduct, or be responsible for a sale by auction. This person may or may not actually "call" the auction.

Backup Bidder The second highest bidder who bid the increment immediately below the amount of the winning bidder's bid.

Ballroom Auction An auction conducted in a hotel ballroom.

Bank Letter of Credit An auctioneer may require an unknown person to pro-vide a letter from a bank certifying creditworthiness to a stated level before registering that person to bid in an auction.

Bid The amount a bidder signals the auctioneer the bidder would pay to buy the lot being auctioned.

Bidder The person who places a bid.

Bid Assistant An auction worker who assists the auctioneer by providing prospective bidders with information about the lots and also spots bidders and relays bids to the auctioneer. Commonly referred to as a "ring man," "bid spotter" or "ground man."

Bid Caller The person who conducts the bidding process, usually the auctioneer. However, an auctioneer may engage another to call bids and this person does not have primary responsibility for the auction.

Bid Card A card, which exhibits the bidder's assigned number to be used for bidding in the auction, given to a bidder by the auctioneer. The auctioneer will call the number of the successful bidder for each lot and the "clerk" will note that bidder and the amount of the winning bid on the clerking sheet.

Bid History A historical list of all the bids made on a particular auction during or after the auction.

Bid Increments The standardized amount an item increases in price after each new bid. The auction service sets the increment, which rises according to the present high bid value of an item.

Bidder (Paddle) Number: The number issued to each person who registers at an auction.

Bid off the Wall This is a fraudulent bid made by the auctioneer in such a manner as to trick other bidders into believing it is a legitimate bid. Also referred to as bid off of the ceiling, gate, fence post, etc. to indicate the bid was fictional.

Bid Package A compilation of materials, information, and terms relevant to the auction and the lots to be sold that is given to each bidder upon registration.

Bid Paddle A wooden board resembling a Ping-Pong paddle that the auctioneer gives to bidders to be used in place of a bid card.

Bid Rigging When two or more people conspire to restrain trade by artificially "fixing" bids in an auction. This can occur when bidders agree not to bid against one another so as to depress selling prices, or when an auctioneer and one or more others agree to try and artificially increase selling prices. The conspiracy is the crime, punishable by law.

Bid Spotter See "bid assistant."

Bidders' Dispute A term commonly and mistakenly used with "late bids."

Bidder Number The number appearing on a "bid card" or "bid paddle" and assigned to a registered bidder in an auction by the auctioneer.

Bidding The act of participating in an auction by offering to purchase an item for sale.

Buyer's Premium A fee paid by the buyer to the auction house, the buyer’s premium is calculated as a percentage of the winning bid and added on to it. This charge is paid by the buyer to the seller to compensate for the added costs of presenting fine art, antiques, and collectibles in an online format. This charge doesn’t include fees such as taxes or shipping. In addition to the winning bid price, sales tax may be added.

Catalog or Brochure A publication advertising and describing the items available for sale at public auction, often including photographs, property descriptions and the terms and conditions of the sale.

Clerk The person employed by the principal auctioneer or auction firm to record what is sold, to whom and for what price.

Commission A fee collected by the auction house that’s usually calculated as a percentage of the winning bid and subtracted from it before the money is released to the seller.

Competing bid During a sale, the auctioneer may accept competing bids for an item from various sources, including bids from an in-house audience, telephone bids, book bids, and absentee bids.

Consignee, Consignor In an auction the consignor is also called the seller and owns the item to be auctioned. The consignee is the auction house.

Condition Report Our cataloguers develop a written description of items to inform potential buyers about make purchasing decisions.

eBidding Online auctions in which potential buyers submit bids electronically. Witherell’s uses iGavel Auctions to reach the widest possible online audience.

Escrow Money held in trust by a third party until the seller makes delivery of merchandise to the buyer.

Estate Auction The sale of property left by a person at his/her death. An estate auction can involve the sale of personal and/or real property.

Fair Market Value The price an item would sell for in an open market between a willing buyer and a willing seller with neither being under any requirement to act and both having reasonable knowledge of the relevant facts.

Grading The process for determining the physical condition of an item. Different items have different grading systems.

Hammer Price Price established by the last bidder and acknowledged by the auctioneer before dropping the hammer or gavel to indicate a sale is completed.

Increment A minimum amount by which a new bid must exceed the previous bid.

Hammer Price This is the price paid when the auctioneer’s “hammer” falls at the end of live bidding. The hammer price does not include the Buyer’s Premium or sales tax.

Lien An adverse claim or charge against an item when that item is being used as collateral for a debt.

Lot An item or group of items for sale in an auction which are denoted by a "lot" number.

Minimum bid The smallest opening bid that will be accepted for an item or lot.

National Auctioneers Association A U.S. association of individual auctioneers united to maintain ethical standards for the auction profession, promote the enactment of just and reasonable laws, ordinances and regulations affecting auction selling, make the public more aware of the advantages of auction selling, and improve the business conditions.

No Reserve Auction An auction that has no reserve price set by the seller. The winning bid only has to meet or beat the minimum price set by the seller or the auction house. This is also known as an Absolute Auction.

On-site Auction An auction conducted on the premises of the property being sold.

On-site Bidder A bidder who’s physically participating at the auction site.

Outbid When a bidder’s offer is topped by another buyer’s offer. To submit a maximum bid that is higher than another buyer's maximum bid.

Preview A specified date and time, known as an open house or inspection, when a property is available for prospective buyer viewing of items in advance of the sale.

Opening bid This the first bid placed on a particular item or lot and must be at least the minimum bid, but can be higher.

Provenance Additional information which is known about an item's history including prior exhibitions, gallery it may have been purchased at, previous owners, or any historical significance.

Proxy Bid A type of bid with which a bidder can protect his or her identity by allowing  another person to make bids on the buyer’s behalf while instructing the proxy bidder on his or her bidding limits.

Reserve or Reserve Price The minimum price that a seller is willing to accept for an item to be sold at auction. This amount is never formally disclosed.

Shill A bidder who bids to get the price up but has no intention of buying the item.

SMS Alerts Alerts sent by text message to a bidder’s cell phone to inform him or her when another bidder has placed a bid on an item.

Starting Price The likely starting bid for a given auction, set by the seller at the time of listing.

Traditional Auction An auction conducted in front of a live audience at a physical location where the items for sale are located.

Telephone Bidding Potential buyers let the auctioneer’s assistant know by phone how much they’re willing to bid, and he or she places incremental bids for them as the auction progresses.

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