Auction FAQ's

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Q: What types of auctions are held at Auction Systems?
A: Auction Systems conducts three types of auctions on a regular basis. (link the first two to the corresponding page)

- Live Auctions when only bidders who are physically present at an auction onsite are able to bid (these auctions are notated on the Auction Schedule with “Sorry No Online Bidding”.)

-Online Only Auctions where only registered online bidders are able to bid and complete against other registered bidders (these auctions are notate on the Auction Schedule with “Online Only”.)

-Simulcast Auctions where live bidders who are physically present onsite at an auction compete against Internet bidders who have either placed proxy bids or are bidding live in real time – this is the most typical type of auction we conduct and can also be heard online by listening to the Auction Systems Radio Network (ASRN).

Q: How are Auction Systems’ auctions different from eBay?
A: Auction Systems is different from eBay in several different ways. 1) Individuals do not post auctions to our site - Auction Systems controls all the product that we sell as an agent for our selling clients. 2) The end date and time for a Simulcast Live Auction is actually the beginning of our Live auction event. So if a live auction starts on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. MST, that is when the first lot in that auction will be offered for bid to the live bidder competing against the Internet bidder until the last bid for the item is over and then the item is sold.

Q: How do I sell my items at auction?
A: There are several different types of auctions that we offer in order to properly sell your merchandise for the highest dollar. For more information on selling at auction, click here, call us at 800-801-8880 or contact us. We are ready to help you sell your merchandise today!

Q: Where does the product you auction come from?
A: Auction Systems has many varied selling clients including police departments, state government agencies, federal agencies, corporations, bankruptcy trustees, lawyers, estate executors and individuals. These groups give us excess or unneeded assets to dispose of at auction.

Q: Is there any guarantee with the auction product?
A: No, there is no guarantee as all items are sold “as-is” and “where-is”. Items for auction are not tested, so this is a buyer beware situation. We do offer live previews where you can come in and inspect the product as well as test it yourself. In the event that a description of the product is incorrect, we will give you a refund of your purchase price.

Q: If I buy a vehicle will there be a title with the vehicle?
A: Yes, unless the description says there is not a title with the vehicle. You will be given a title when you pick up the vehicle.

Q: What is the History of Auctions?
A: Some scholars argue that the very first auction occurred when Joseph of the Many-Colored Coat was sold into slavery by his brothers, however the first generally accepted auctions occurred in Babylon in about 500 B.C.. In those times an auction was held annually, and women were sold on condition that they be married. Beautiful maidens engendered lively bidding, but less comely women had to pay a dowry to be accepted and thus the price could be negative.

Ancient Romans also auctioned goods. Those auctions were held in the "atrium auctionarium", and the trading was carried out by four functionaries: the dominus, on whose behalf the property was sold; the argentarius, who organized, regulated, and possibly financed the sale; the praeco, who advertised and promoted the auction as well as conducted the bidding; and the emptor, the highest bidder (recall caveat emptor, let the buyer beware.). It is not known whether the auctions were ascending or descending, but ascending is presumed since auctus means increase. Bidders normally did not call out openly, but rather winked or waved to indicate a bid.

After a military victory a Roman soldier would plant his spear in the ground to mark the location of his spoils. Later he would put these goods up for sale at auctions. The now-rare term, subhastation, meaning a sale by auction, came from the Latin, subhastare (to sell by public auction) which in turn comes from sub (under) and hasta (spear). Subhastare--under the spear. Roman business agents were said to have accompanied warriors into battle to facilitate the expected sales. The Romans also used the auction to liquidate property. Marcus Aurelius is said to have auctioned off prized heirlooms and furniture (that auction lasted over two months).

One of the most astonishing auctions in history occurred in the year 193 A.D. when no less than the entire Roman Empire was tossed on the block by the Praetorian Guard. First they killed Pertinax, the emperor, and then they announced that the highest bidder could claim the Empire. Didius Julianus outbid all comers and became the emperor for the price of 6,250 drachmas per Guard. Unfortunately, he was beheaded a mere two months later when Septimus Severus conquered Rome. Julianus may have been the first victim of winner's curse. Later, the Empire was restored to the people.

Less is understood about the auction as used in other civilizations. It is known that the auction was one of the four money-raising institutions (the others being pawnshops, mutual financing associations, and lotteries) used by Buddhist temples and monasteries, and as early as the seventh century, the possessions of deceased monks were sold on the block. The earliest reference to the auction as practiced in Great Britain is from an entry in the 1595 Oxford English Dictionary, but nothing more is known until the final years of the seventeenth century. At that time auctions were held in taverns and coffeehouses to sell art. It is likely that such auctions were held daily and that catalogs, announcing the availability of certain merchandise, were printed. The firm of Sotheby's was established in 1744, and Christie's was founded in 1766.One seventeenth century catalog describes a process called "mining", which was similar to the Dutch auction because the auctioneer started the bidding high and worked down. A lot was claimed when someone yelled, "Mine". There was an interesting twist though. After the bid descended to the point where a bidder claimed an item, the bidding actually resumed but this time in an ascending format. So the bids went down and then back up again.

The auction migrated to America where it was used to liquidate goods and to sell unsold goods at the end of a season. Domestic animals have been sold this way as have tobacco, natural resources, horses, debt, credit, and of course slaves.

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