Rise Of The Timed Auction

Rise Of The Timed Auction

December 12th 2020

As we close come to a close on 2020, the Christmas decorations are beginning to appear so are timed auctions, a newer platform of which most people are unaware of. I think the majority of people understand the basic premiss of an auction, you raise your hand to bid on an item of choice, the more you keep throwing your hand up, the more chance you have of purchasing the item until eventually the hammer goes down and its yours, good or bad you have bought it. 

Whats becoming more and more common in the trade are what’s known as ‘Timed auctions’ and the are quite literally what they say on the tin. In its simplest form a timed auction is a standard auction where each item is on a timer throughout its duration before it ends with the highest bidder winning the item. The biggest differences being that in a timed action it is online and there is no live or ‘in the room’ bidding, there is no auctioneer and ultimately there is no buzz or thrill, there’s no chance to get nervous before the lot and the joy of owning it once you have won. 

With timed auctions they work by a simple process of the last bid wins like any auction, however the majority have a clause in which if you are too bid within a certain time before the end, the timer is extended, for example; MR. S bids £200 on an item which has 2 minutes left on the clock, MRS. A then bids within the last 30 seconds of the item ending £220 hoping to win, the countdown timer will then refresh and beginning counting down from 2 minutes again. This will continue to happen until no more bids are placed within the 2 minute time frame in which the winning bidder owns the item. 

So what are the positives to a timed auction and why have they become more prevalent in the last year or so? Throughout the lockdown periods it has been very difficult to organise live auctions with social distancing measures, limited staff and customers. Time auctions can be completely unmanned once the auction is live, no auctioneer, no admin staff and no auction clerks. The cost saving alone has pushed this style of auction into the lime light, if you then factor in social distancing, forced closure, wearing masks and handing lots, this has been very difficult in our trade to organise so it gives any auction house the hope of continuing to conduct business in the most responsible and safest way possible. 

With that in mind it will be interesting to look forward and see if this theme becomes normality with auction houses across the UK. Personally I think you loose a lot of interaction, excitement and the thrill of bidding when it is conducted this way but that’s my personal opinion!