Auction Etiquette: 9 Things to Know as a First-Time Bidder
You've attended the auction preview and you've listed down the items you're interested in. Now what? Here, we've listed down 9 etiquette tips to help you get through an auction.
1. LEARN THE LINGO.
Aside from setting a maximum bid, it's important to prepare and learn the proper jargon before heading to the auction floor. Luckily, Sotheby's has a handy glossary of terms you can familiarize yourself with. Learn the ABC's of an auction: from appraisal to bought-in to conditions of business, and more.
2. DRESS APPROPRIATELY.
As with anything, following the dress code is always proper. During an auction, however, it can be extremely imperative. Perfume and cologne, specifically, shouldn't be worn since they can interfere with the smell during a wine auction, for example.
3. KEEP CONVERSATION TO A MINIMUM.
As soon as the auction starts, you must remember to keep quiet. It can be tempting to strike up a conversation if an item you're not keen on passes through, but this may be distracting for the auctioneer and other bidders.
4. LISTEN ATTENTIVELY.
Another reason to keep conversation at bay is so you can pay more attention to what the auctioneer has to say. Often, the auctioneer gives little tidbits about each item and even new information that may prove to be useful.
5. DON'T MAKE ANY SUDDEN MOVEMENTS.
Contrary to popular belief, scratching your nose or moving your elbow doesn't count as a bid. But it still is highly possible for the auctioneer to mistake some of your movements as a bid. If it does happen, just speak up and say you didn't mean to.
6. USE YOUR PADDLE PROPERLY.
Waving your paddle around wildly is a rookie mistake. If you want to bid, simply raise your paddle and make sure the auctioneer sees it. After being noticed, you can raise your hand, pen, or finger until the hammer comes down.
7. REMAIN COOL AND CALM.
Auctions can get quite intense. Don't lose yourself in the moment and go on a bidding war against a fellow bidder. After all, there are some bidders who will happily artificially push bids up for fun.
8. DON'T BID IF YOU'RE NOT SURE.
Remember: You can't change your mind once the hammer comes down. There's less of a chance of this happening if you attend the preview and do your research beforehand.
9. SECURE YOUR PURCHASES ASAP.
Settling your payment as soon as you can isn't only done out of courtesy. The sooner you pay, the sooner you get the item at hand. Not to mention, your reputation as a bidder will hinge on this moment.