Frequently Asked Questions

Here is some insight into buying and selling at auction . . .

If you don't find your answer here, just send us an email.


Q: What is an auction?

A: An auction is a process of buying and selling property, goods or services, by offering them up for bid, taking bids, and then selling the item to the highest bidder.  See also History of Auctions.


Q: Can anyone go to an auction?

A: Most auctions are public events and everyone is welcome. Exceptions would be some auto auctions, which allow dealers only.  All auctions offered by Copper State Auctions are open to the public.  Individuals over the age of 18, with a valid government issued ID, are allowed to bid at our auctions.


Q: What is a bid?

A: A bid is a verbal agreement of price that is the highest price that a buyer (bidder) is willing to pay for a good, item or service offered at auction.  The bid is a contract by the buyer to purchase the offered good from the seller at the stated price.


Q: Why does an auction go so fast?

A: At a personal property auction there are usually many transactions per hour, which means the pace of the auction is fairly quick.  This is necessary to sell an entire estate or multiple consignors’ items in a short period of time; often there are hundreds and hundreds of lots to sell at an auction.  At Copper State Auctions, we average 150 lots per hour, which allows us to clear an entire estate in just a few hours.


Q: Why are auctions so popular?

A: The excitement of bidding, the thrill of the hunt, the rhythmic chant of the auctioneers – all of these elements create a level of enthusiasm that only the auction method can generate. The auction is unlike any other buying or selling environment.  Plus, auctions are Fun!


Q: What advice would you give to a first-time auction attendee?

A: Don’t be intimidated; you do not need to be experienced to enjoy an auction. Relax, have fun, observe, and ask questions. We are ready to help you and welcome questions.  See also Attending an Auction.


Q: What kinds of items are sold at auction?

A: Quite simply, if something can be sold, it has probably been sold at auction. Copper State Auctions sells a wide variety of personal property including fine art, decorative accessories, glass, china, jewelry, coins, stamps, ephemera, furnishings, tools, cars, recreational vehicles, household items and much more. Three things that Copper State Auctions will never sell are live animals, illegal animal remnants and alcohol.


Q: What is the difference between an absolute auction and a reserve auction?

A: In an absolute auction, all property is sold to the highest bidder regardless of price. However, in a reserve auction, the seller reserves the right to accept or reject any and all bids, or to withdraw the property if a price has not met to seller's minimum requirement.


Q: I can't attend the auction. Can I still bid on an item?

A: In the event that you cannot attend an auction, you can leave a bid on a specific lot(s) in advance of the auction with the auction company. This is known as an "absentee bid" or a "proxy bid."  See also Bidding Online.


Q: What is a Buyer's Premium?

A: A buyer's premium is an included surcharge that is a stated percentage added to the high bid for a lot to determine the lot's final selling price.  The buyer's premium is paid by the buyer.  For example, Copper State Auctions buyer's premium is 5%, if the winning bid is $100, the actual total will be $105.  See also Terms and Conditions.


Q: What does "as is, where is" mean?

A: "Where is" means exactly as it sounds, am item is sold on the spot and the item immediately becomes the responsibility of the winning bidder; transfer of ownership occurs upon payment.  "As is" means that property is sold without warranty as to its condition and merchantability for a particular use. See also Terms and Conditions and Glossary.


Q: What is the difference between an estate auction and a consignment auction?

A: An estate auction is the property of a single individual - either living or dead.  A consignment auction includes goods offered for sale by multiple sellers.  Copper State Auctions conducts both types of auctions.  Occasionally, Copper State Auctions will include consigned goods along with estate goods.


Q: What does "Bidder's Choice" or “Choice” mean?

A: Bidder's Choice or Choice is a method of selling that allows the winning bidder to buy one or several like items when the auctioneer says, "Sold."  For example, if a dozen collectible knives were up for sale and the final selling price was $25, the winning bidder would have the choice of buying from one to all twelve knives at $25 apiece.  See also Glossary.


Q: How do I pay for my Items?

A: Copper State Auctions makes it easy for you to pay for your items.  We accept cash, Debit Cards, Visa, Master Card, Diner's Club, PayPal, Discover Network Cards, and American Express including Apple Pay.  Payment can be made after you have successfully bid an item or at the end of the auction.  All purchases must be paid in full by the end of the auction.


Q: Can I return an item?

A: All sales are final.  Remember, you are bidding on used goods, there are no warranties and everything is "As Is."  Please use the preview time before the start of an auction to determine your interest in an item.


Q: What if I change my mind after the auctioneer says sold and I no longer want that item?

A: Your bid is an agreement to purchase.  You have committed to purchase the item publically; it is absolute.  By bidding, you have agreed to the Terms and Conditions of the auction. All sales are final; Copper State Auctions does not re-offer goods for auction once they have been sold to a buyer.


Q: What do all those auction words and terms mean?

A: This is best answered by visiting our Glossary section.


Q: Do I have to attend an auction to bid on an item?

A: We offer absentee bidding which, allows several options and ways to leave or place a bid.  Please visit our absentee bidding section for more information.


Q: Can I bid for an item online?

A: Many times, yes, Copper State Auctions offers online pre-bidding.  Please see our absentee bidding section for more information.


Q: Can I buy an item prior to an auction?

A: Items are not available for purchase before the scheduled auction event.  All items are offered in a pre-determined order, stated before the start of an auction allowing all buyers an equal chance at purchasing an item.  If you are unable to attend, please see our absentee bidding section for more information.


Q: When can I take the items I just won?

A: As soon as the auctioneer says “Sold” and your number is recorded with the clerk, the item is your responsibility at that point: please secure it.  All items must be paid for by the end of the auction.  See also Terms & Conditions.


Q: Why must I stand where the auctioneer can see me?

A: It is important to make eye contact with the auctioneer when placing a bid: it is your way of communicating your bid.  This reduces the chance of losing an item to another bidder or bidding on an item that you do not want.  See also Attending an Auction and Auction Etiquette.


Q: What if I did not understand the bid or was not clear as to what I was bidding on?

A: It is important to pay attention to what is being sold.  Listen for the lot number, and watch the bid assistant and auctioneer for the introduction of an item before bidding.  Use preview time to examine items that you may want to bid on.  Remember, you are making an agreement to purchase an item, it is important to understand before the auctioneer says, "Sold."  See also How to Place a Bid.

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