Reserve or No Reserve?
Cars…and indeed most items sold at auction…are offered one of two ways: “Reserve,” meaning the seller has set a floor as a minimum selling price. If the bidding does not reach the pre-established reserve, the seller can withdraw the car as a no sale. The seller generally pays a minimum fee to the auction house if the car does not sell. The other method of offer is “No Reserve.” This means the car is loose and selling, as they say in the trade, and will be sold to the highest bidder regardless of price. This type of offering usually generates more interest from buyers, and a lesser fee to the seller, as everyone knows the car will be the next one to sell.
The bidding process goes quickly. Most auctioneers roll 15-20 cars across the block every hour: that’s about three minutes per car. When you are bidding, you’ll generally be assisted (accosted might be a more accurate definition) by one of the auctioneer’s helpers, or “ring men,” that work out in the audience. Yes, they are there to help you, but remember their job is to sell cars. Don’t let them, or anyone, rattle your concentration. You have every right to know the current bid, who has the current bid, and the bid being asked for. If unsure, ask for clarification, and be careful not to raise your own bid. Legitimate auction houses won’t let this happen, but the pace does get brisk.