Live auctions via the Internet are an interesting phenomena for me, and I think that this procedure opens the door for improving sales at all auctions. Yes, there are auctions that are a must to attend, but the real world sometimes gets in the way which makes attending nearly impossible. So Internet auctions can help me take part in some important events that don’t fit my schedule.
In my universe of collecting there are two major auctions that are put on by Lang’s Sporting Collectibles, one in April and one in November. These two auctions usually represent the best of what we are looking for. To get to this auction, I have to spend vast sums of money for air fare, food, car rental, and an overly expensive place to stay, because I am on the West Coast and the auction is on the East Coast.
Of course, I really wouldn’t mind going, because Lang’s has wonderful events with all sorts of interesting activities going on. But I can’t go because the April auction interferes with the opening weekend of trout season, a very busy time at my fly shop. As for November, we are getting ready for the Christmas season and it can be difficult to take the time off then. It is not going to get any cheaper to travel and I don’t think I am alone in thinking this way.
Luckily, Internet auctions have given me some new opportunities to get involved. In the past, the only choices you had, other than attending, were absentee bidding by snail mail (and now e-mail), or phone bidding (which was difficult to arrange).
Recently, though, a new feature has been added, and that is live bidding from the comfort of your own home. I think the concept is terrific, even though there are still kinks to be worked out, like getting my computer “synched” up properly with the master computer so that it recognizes my bid before an auction item I am bidding on has finished. Despite such problems, this seems to be popular with other bidders. In fact, 27 percent of Lang’s November 2007 auction lots were sold to Internet buyers.
Also, I think it is fun to bid along this way, especially if you can’t be there in person. I don’t have to waste my time and I can choose what items I want and still take care of business. I just leave my computer connected to the auction and check back when I want to be involved in the action.