As auctioneers, we are often asked “why do you start the bidding so low?”
If you’ve ever been to an auction, you know that auction-goers love a great bargain. Similar to the way retail stores put items “on sale” to encourage you to buy, auctioneers often start the bidding low to increase the perception of a bargain and encourage you to bid. This strategy often results in high-energy bidding, a fun, exciting experience for buyers.
In the episodes of Market Warriors filmed at Quinn’s Auction Galleries in Falls Church, Virginia, the Warriors’ items were sold in Quinn’s Weekly Treasure Auctions, where the items are not catalogued or vetted for authenticity. It’s an “absolute” auction, meaning there are no reserves or minimum bids.
Auctioneers, like professionals in any industry, have a variety of styles and strategies to their work. Some auctioneers start bidding high to see if they can get a “bite” from a willing bidder. Often times, this strategy results in the auctioneer needing to lower his starting bid multiple times before he gets an opening offer.