You don't have to be in town to shop auctions in your city. Distance auction shopping is entirely possible and not that difficult in this day and age, where technology and instant communication have made it easy to be on the other side of the world and still get the word to its intended destination in a matter of seconds. Unsure of how to bid at auction from miles away? Read on for some helpful tips.
Have the auction house's catalog sent to you regularly. Recently, many auction houses have made the switch to digital, so you may end up getting an email shot to your inbox every week or so -- or you may continue to get a print catalog, depending on how often the auction house sends out an inventory of what they plan to hawk off. Be sure you're looking at the most up-to-date version of the catalog, and mark all the items you're interested in.
Call to talk to the auctioneer about any questionable items. Questionable doesn't mean sketchy -- it just means any item you may have a question about. If there are items that seem too good to be true, well, you should certainly speak with the auctioneer about them. But if you just want to know a few details about an antique armoire, or ask about the size of an appliance you're interested in, calling the auctioneer can be very informative.
Some auction houses will let you call in your bids early, but if not, send someone as your messenger. Make sure you have a way to stay in contact with them during the auction -- cell phones are the obvious answer -- and have them place bids for you during the live auctions. Even if you can bid ahead of time, you may want to ask someone to go for you, just in case they need to confirm or talk to someone in person.
Be sure you've properly arranged for transportation for whatever you buy. This is very important for when you're there, and especially for when you're gone -- if you win something and aren't there to collect it, you may very well be one new purchase short when you show up to try to claim it a few days later. Auction houses want to move their merchandise as soon as possible, and unless you have asked someone to transport your new purchases away for you, you could find that they get resold at the next auction.
Have you had good distance auction experiences? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us all about it!