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How To Bid
Qualifying to Bid
If you are new to Rago’s, welcome.
New Bidders: The first time you bid with us, we verify your credit. Call us anytime, but always by 10 a.m. on the day prior to the sale. It’s a quick few steps to get us the information we need. In addition to contact information, this may include driver’s license number, credit card number, references. The first time you bid with us, we also total the low estimates of all the lots on which you wish to bid and place a hold equal to 10% on your designated credit card. We will release this hold if you are not the winner of the lot(s). This is similar to the hotel policy of placing a hold on your credit card for the first night of a stay and releasing it if you cancel in accordance with its policy. (International bidders, please note: This percentage may be larger on high value lots and we may reserve the right to charge the full amount to the winning bidder immediately. We will always inform you of this in advance.)
Deciding How Much to Bid
Every lot description includes an estimate range. Estimates are based on the current market and past sales of the same type of property. A lot may sell for less or more, depending on the day and the number of serious bidders. Decide how much the lot is worth to you. (Feel free to ask the auction house if the lot has gotten a lot of attention.) We typically open bidding at 1/2 of the low estimate. (The exception occurs when two or more left bids push the opening price higher.) We sell the lot to the highest bidder as long as the consignor’s reserve price has been met and the competition has ended. (Reserves are never less than half of the low estimate and never exceed the low estimate itself.) Bidding moves up according to the set increments posted in the Terms of Sale, unless determined otherwise by the auctioneer.
Four Ways to Bid
Bidding online: Rago’s partnership with Live Auctioneers (liveauctioneers.com) and Artfact (artfact.com) allows you to bid online in real time. Go to either site, locate the link to our sale (by search or by scrolling through the sales in date order) and follow the directions for qualifying and registering. To insure that you are qualified before the sale begins, we strongly advise you to register as soon as possible. Note: Live Auctioneers also offers mobile app for iPhone, Android or Blackberry at that lets you view our catalogues and bid online through your phone.
Bidding by phone: If you want to bid live with us by phone, we can arrange for an agent from our staff to call you. Your agent is your advocate in the room and will do everything he can to win you your lot(s). He will call a few minutes before your lot comes up for sale. He will introduce himself, tell you the number of the lot currently being auctioned and confirm the lot number(s) on which you have chosen to bid. He will tell you when your lot is up next. When the auctioneer opens the bidding, he will tell you what you need to bid to stay in the competition as the bids move up. Request a phone line as early as possible. We always take phone bids from registered bidders up to 4 pm on the day prior to the sale and thereafter if possible – at our discretion.
Bidding in the room: Check in at the front desk on the day of sale. Our doors open at least two hours before any auction and registration continues during the sale. A staff member will establish your credit (if you are a first time bidder), give you a paper paddle with a bidding number and you’ll be set to go.
Bidding by left bid: Left bids (also known as absentee bids) give the auctioneer permission to bid for you as if you were in the room, starting on your behalf at the lowest possible selling price and, as long as there is competition, bidding for you – if necessary, up to the maximum amount you have designated. We accept absentee bids by phone or fax. We will even do our best to enter bids during a live auction if the call is received sufficiently in advance and from a registered bidder. That said, absentee bids are time stamped, so the earlier an absentee bid is submitted, the better. The earlier of two identical absentee bids will win the day.
Download and Print Rago’s Absentee/Phone Bid form or review our Terms of Sale here.
A bid is a contract to buy.
Virtually all auction houses sell property “as-is, where-is.” That means every purchase -- with rare and specific exceptions – is a final sale. Read Rago’s Terms of Sale before you buy. Ask us about any part you don’t understand. Everything that’s up for auction is available for inspection a full week prior to the sale. If physical inspection isn’t an option, there are online condition reports and photos and we are glad to hear from you by phone or e-mail if you still have unanswered questions. Such due diligence on your part assures that you’ll be satisfied when your bid wins the day.
The selling price announced for a lot is the hammer (or successful bid) price. A buyer’s premium is always added to the amount of the successful bid price. (An auction house makes its money by asking a percentage of the selling price from the consignor and a percentage of the selling price from the buyer.) For more information about Rago’s buyer’s premium, as well as taxes, see Pay. For more information about shipping charges, see Taking Possession.
Again, your final cost will include a buyer’s premium and may include tax and shipping charges.