Bid On Estates is an estate liquidation company that specializes in Online Auctions.

We primarily service Beaver and Lawrence Counties (PA) but occasionally will accept projects in Allegheny, Butler, Washington, and Columbiana (OH) Counties.

Owned and operated by John and Jessica Brown. John has a B.S. degree in Marketing from Penn State, obtained a Certificate in Appraisal Studies in Fine and Decorative Arts from N.Y.U., and spent years dealing in antiques before transitioning into the auction business, opening Bid On Estates in 2013.

We occasionally will do buy outs (cash offer to purchase things outright) but most of the time we are conducting online auctions for our clients. In an online auction we come to the home and get things organized, photograph the items, write catalog descriptions, and upload the photos to our website. We advertise the sale and people will place bids on the items from their computers or cell phones. Finally, we then supervise when the winning bidders come to the home to pick up their items on designated collection dates.

We prefer online auctions because:

  • Transparency - You will receive a line by line settlement statement that clearly outlines each and every item that we sold for you.
  • Speed & Efficiency - For most homes, we spend about a week photographing and then 2-3 weeks later, it's almost all gone.
  • Expertise - Not just our expertise, but that of our bidders. Nobody knows everything about everything, but a good auction is able to market to people who are experts in specific niches and then let them bid it out to determine the true price.

The full process, step by step.

Usually it's best if you reach out with a phone call, we can discuss your specific needs for your specific project. We will ask you about the types of items that you want us to sell, what is your time-frame, what are your expectations, and try to address any of your questions.

Assuming that an auction sounds like it might be a good fit for you, we can work together to schedule an appointment for you to show us around the property. While walking around, we do ask that you clearly point out any and all items that will not be for sale, such as, items that you or the family will be keeping. We’ll just walk through room by room and take a brief survey. Basically, we are just looking things over to get an idea of the quantity, quality, and get an idea of how much time that we will be investing into getting your items ready for auction.

After this step, we will provide you with a quote for our services. We typically work off of a commission (a percentage based off what the items sell for), commissions do vary greatly from one project to the next, but we will clearly outline what we are able to do for you and what the costs will be before we begin. Assuming that you like what you hear, we’ll provide you with a contract and then we will schedule a day to begin working.

We work by going room by room, sorting and organizing things into “lots”. A lot may be one or two nice items, or it could be a hodge-podge of mixed lower value items. For a typical living room, the sofa and love-seat would be a Lot, the coffee and end tables could be Lot 2, the TV is Lot 3… We just continue this process all the way through the home in the attempt to sell as much as possible.

After we have everything cataloged and photographed, we will post those pictures and descriptions of the items on our website. We will advertise the sale and send emails out to our previous bidders. People will place bids on the items that they are interested in from their phones or computers (this is not a traditional live auction, all bidding is done online), in a manner very similar to an eBay auction.

We have scheduled days and times for the winning bidders to pick up their items and we oversee that whole process.

The next step is just for you to cash the check!

Auctions allow items to sell to the highest bidder at the highest price that a large group of informed and interested parties agree upon.

Unlike an estate sale (tag, garage sale) where somebody sets a price and then usually negotiate down to a lower price, our prices only go up. I recall years ago that I attended an estate sale that had a very particular and special table for sale. Because we had to line up outside, the guy in front of me was able to purchase it before I had a chance to, it was marked at a SIGNIFICANTLY lower price than what I was willing to pay as it was manufactured by a little known but highly desirable manufacturer. If that item had gone to an auction it may have sold for an exponentially greater sum.

Furthermore, nobody knows everything about everything. I have been buying and selling for decades now, and while I do know a LOT about a LOT, I don't know everything about everything. One reason that auctions work is that it allows the two most informed bidders to go head to head, equipped with their own specialized area of expertise and backed up by their wallets. The chances of selling a very rare item for a very low sum is greatly diminished in a well advertised auction.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are your "Warehouse Sales"?

We have a warehouse in Rochester and we hold consignment sales from there about once a month or so. Typically, we will sell just about anything from anyone at our warehouse sales, however, there is a higher filter for what we can take in. We rarely accept much furniture (just too big and takes up too much floor space) and less general household type items. More antiques, collectibles, better tools. We are typically looking for smaller items that can fit on a shelf or hang on the wall, the average selling price of a lot in a warehouse sale is $25 or more.

Do you price the items, or offer reserves or starting minimum bids?

We very rarely sell anything with a reserve and the opening bid is $1 on nearly everything we sell. Please remember, that "it's not where it begins, it's where it ends that matters". We are open to discussions, however we run a clean and transparent AUCTION, 99% of the items that we sell are sold without reserve or an impactful minimum opening bid.

Do you haul away all of the trash when you are done?

Sometimes, but that's not normally a part of a standard quote.

I'd highly recommend that you take some time to view our PAST AUCTIONS. This is our full body of work (since March of 2020 when we switched to new software)