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The item sold for the same as my absentee bid amount, but I did not win. What happened?

Because of the way bids are placed competitively during a live auction, the situation sometimes arises where an item will sell to a live bidder for the same amount that an absentee bidder had bid. The following scenario illustrates such a case...

The absentee bidder leaves a maximum bid of $300 for the item. Bidding at the live auction starts with a $200 bid from the crowd. The absentee bidder is bid in at $225, the crowd bids $250, the absentee bidder bids $275, and the crowd bids $300. At this point, the crowd bidder has the item at $300. The next bid increment would be $325, but since the absentee bidder specified a maximum of $300 we cannot increase their bid. Hence, the live crowd bidder wins.

In cases like this, we often hear from the absentee bidder that they were the first to place the bid and should win the item. The first absentee bidder to bid an amount takes priority among absentee bidders. However, at the live auction the top absentee bid competes equally with live crowd bidders. The first person, whether absentee or live, to bid an amount during the auction holds the item at that level unless outbid. The priority of bid placement during the auction is what finally counts.

This is fair and is the traditional way auctions work. Because we don't control where bidding starts at the auction or how many bidders participate, we don't control who wins the item at any specific bid amount. Had you attended the auction and been the second person to bid $300 on an item, you still would not have won.


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