Auction Insider: Bidding Strategy

by Ryan Friedman

When it comes to bidding with auction houses there is definitely a strategy to win items. While I can write a book on all of the different strategies and reasons behind them, for now I’ll break it down into three general guidelines.

1. Bid early! Within the first day or two of the auction go through the entire on-line catalog and place the minimum bids on the items you are interested in. Don’t wait. Simply put, you can’t get the item any cheaper than the minimum bid price. Also, by placing a bid, this now allows you to participate in any extending bidding period the day the auction closes. Now you can relax a little until the end of the auction.

2. Research early! If you need additional information on an item, more photos, or more of a description (happens on group lots), contact the auction house early on. By researching your item, this will help you potentially find a deal that might not be fully disclosed within the description of the item (descriptions aren’t always perfect).

3. Leave a maximum bid! The maximum bid feature allows you to maintain your budget and not necessarily get caught up in the “bidding moment”. This will also guarantee your bids get executed properly so you won’t miss out. Since many of the auctions end late at night or even in the wee hours of the morning, you might fall asleep or have plans during the closing part of the auction. The max bid feature is your buddy!

I’ll have more on bidding strategies in our next report.

News and notes:

Heritage Auctions will be conducting a “special” Live Auction during the The National Sports Collectors Convention on Friday, August 6th. This should be fun for collectors as this now makes two major auction houses (Legendary Auctions being the other) that will conduct a “special” live auction on the same night during the national. Should be plenty of amazing items up for bid.

Huggins & Scott just launched their complete on-line auction results database going back to 2005. Every single item that they have auctioned off since then is now searchable with full descriptions, minimum bids, final bids, and photographs.

As mentioned in our previous report, Mile High Card Company’s May auction will feature a collection of over 300+ game used jerseys. We have learned that some of the jerseys include, Brooks Robinson, Hank Aaron, Steve Carlton, Bart Starr, Wayne Gretzkty, Bobby Hull, and more. We’re told over $400,000 worth of game used jerseys from the 1950’s to current will be up for bid.

Andy Madec Sportscards has launched their own weekly Internet Auctions (via ebay). Each auction features a few dozen graded cards and assorted memorabilia. Two major catalog auctions are still planned for 2010 (April/October).

Ryan Friedman is the editor of Auction Report (,
a premier web site for news coverage and information on the top
auction companies, dealers, and authentication services in the sports
memorabilia and sports card business. Look for his column here each