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"Bidder's Choice" is a phrase your going to hear a lot of when you attend an auction, but it's not always clearly defined, as it is so common in auctions that I think many auctioneers just assume you are familiar with the term.
Bidder's Choice is a grouping strategy used by auctioneers when there are a lot of relatively similar items, i.e. a table full of books, or several box lots of tools. If the auctioneer sold each item individually, it could end up taking a great deal of time and if they grouped all of the items together into one big lot, they probably would be losing revenue. So, Bidder's Choice get implemented.
So, let's use that table full of books as an example. There could be 200 books of relatively little value, several interesting books about art, a couple of niche books about woodworking, and three or four rare first editions that to laymen eye appear unassuming and common.
The Auctioneer may not be an authority on the values, so he'll announce the parameters of the bidder's choice. In this case he would say any single book on top of this specific table and then start the bidding.
Bidders will compete against each other until someone has the high and unchallenged bid. It is now their right to choose as many books at this price as they wish. They may only take 1, perhaps 2. After their selection is made, the auctioneer will start a new round of bidding.
It's always fun bidding bidder's choice, because quite often you really want an item but give up bidding and someone else wins, but they don't take the item you wanted! So, you jump back in on the second round and purchase that book for much less than expected. But few things are more heartbreaking than watching that other bidder walk up and grab your title right in front of your eyes....
Usually the auctioneer will commence a few rounds of this procedure until the bids start to become very low, at that point, they may group all of the remaining unpicked books into one lot and then auction that as a whole.
Bidder's Choice is one of the few things that doesn't lend itself all that well to online auctions like we conduct here at Bid On Estates, it just becomes too confusing. Instead, we usually just take the long road and break up all the lots into reasonable chunks and then let free market do it's work.
Best of luck and hope to see you at the next BidOnEstates.com auction!
A buyer's premium is effectively a service fee paid by the high bidder of an item sold at auction to the auctioneer. A buyer's fee of 10% would imply that if you are the high bidder on a lot that sold for $100.00, you would be responsible to pay $110.00 at check out. ($100.00 bid plus 10% for a total of $110.00).
Buyer's premiums were introduced by the larger NYC auction companies a few decades ago as a way to entice consignor's of high end goods to choose their company to represent them. The model proliferated out and is now practiced by the FAR majority of auctioneers. Buyer's premiums (in our area, outside Pittsburgh, PA) generally range from around 10% up to about 20%. Some of the largest auction houses now rarely charge a commission to sellers and can charge the buyer up to 40% in buyer's premiums!
It is very important to read the auction announcements slowly, not all auctioneers do a great job of making their policies clear, you want to be aware of your end responsibilities. It is extremely common for their to be just a one line announcement "15% buyer's premium". That can end up being a lot of money.
Many local auctioneers discount a couple of percentage points off of the buyer's premium for those paying with cash or check, as credit card service fees are not incurred.