Attending an Auction for the First Time

Whether this is your first auction or the first time attending our auctions, here is some advice:


There is an excitement about a live auction that makes it a special event that draws people back time after time.  People attend auctions out of curiosity about what unique or interesting items are for sale.  Oftentimes, people attend an auction because there is even more curiosity among bidders when it comes to what an item sold for at auction and what prices were obtained.  Auctions are a social event, and while people attend to find great deals, find a treasure or add to their collection, many walk away making new friends.


Auctions are also a great educational opportunity to learn about art, collectibles, historical items, furniture, and other types of property, just by talking to other auction attendees, sellers and the auctioneer.  You can learn about values, the construction of items, collection practices and much more when you attend an auction.  And, as auction goers will tell you, “Auctions are fun!”


Here are a few tips you should know while attending one of our auctions.


  • Dress comfortably. Remember, even if it is hot or cold outside, the air conditioning or heating might be working overtime inside. Dress in layers and bring seating if needed, an average auction lasts 4-5 hours.  Food and beverage is usually allowed and sometimes we will have a food vendor on premises.
  • Show Up Early.
    Arriving early will give you time to get familiar with your surroundings and, most importantly, it will give you time to preview the merchandise and items being sold.  You can see the items close up, look for marks, insignia or any damage and start planning for which items you will make bids.  It also allows you to review the terms and conditions of the sale, find the cashier and ask questions.
  • Inspect.
    Carefully inspect any items you are interested in.  Are the items complete, functional and in good repair?  Do you see other people looking at the same items?  Items for sale are numbered with lot numbers.  Use the catalog or your bid card to make notes.
  • Make Sure You Register.
    Anyone who bids must have a bidder number, this can only be secured through registration prior to bidding.  The process is free, easy, and requires no deposit.  Upon initial registration you will need to sign in, present a government issued ID card, such as a drivers license and provide a telephone number.  Each time you attend future auctions, just sign in and show your ID to the cashier.  Upon completion of registration, you will receive a bidder ID card with your bidder number on it, this number is good for the entire auction.  Keep this card handy as it is used to identify you, the bidder, to the auctioneer and and clerk who will record your purchases for the day.
  • Be Prepared to Bid.
    Bidding is simple. But if you're doing it for the first time, it could be intimidating. Here are some general guidelines:
    1. Make sure you clearly understand the terms and conditions of the auction before making a bid (these will be posted at the auction site, written on the back of your bidder card and stated verbally before the start of the auction).  General terms and conditions can also be found by clicking here.
    2. Listen closely to the auctioneer.  The auctioneer will determine the increments of bidding.  If you are having a bit of trouble understanding the auction chant, plan to listen for a few minutes and get a feel for how the auctioneer chants before you jump in and begin bidding.
    3. Be sure you make eye contact with the auctioneer when you bid.  It helps to raise your hand or bidder ID card when bidding.
    4. The process is fast, so if you want to bid, quickly raise your hand or shout out loud – don’t hesitate or wait for bidding to slow or stop because you might miss the chance to bid.  For more information on how to bid click here.
  • Set a price.
    What are you willing to bid?  How high are you willing to go?  You should have a dollar amount in mind so you don't go over your budget in the heat of the moment.  Don't forget to include the buyer’s premium and state taxes and local taxes in your total costs. More information can be found by clicking here.
  • Most importantly: HAVE FUN!!!


Auction Catalogs

An auction catalog is a list of items to be sold, in the order in which they will sell.  Each item has a "lot number" which denotes its sale order, along with a brief a description.  Catalogs are available online and are usually posted on our website prior to the auction.  Printed auction catalogs are available at the auction site, upon request, at the check-in desk.  Remember, catalog descriptions are for reference only, they help distinguish which goods are for sale; do not rely on catalog descriptions for warranty, provenance or accuracy or guarantee.

Ways to Bid

Auctions are open to the public and free of charge.  Copper State Auctions offers different ways to bid and participate in the auction.  You can: Bid in person at the auction, place an absentee bid in advance of the auction or Pre-Bid online.  Click here to bid now.

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