How to: Bid at an art auction

Art auctions — they sound so glamorous, but despite their lofty reputation, they’re far from exclusive. Catering to all manner of tastes and budgets, there is almost always something for everyone on offer. As a great way of getting your creative juices flowing and to find out what sort of art really floats your boat, we’ve compiled a beginner’s guide to auction-attending to see you through your first few rodeos.

Do your homework 
Don’t go in guns blazing without having leafed through a pamphlet to ascertain which pieces you’re interested in beforehand. The prices listed are the price at which the bidding will begin.

Be on time
You will likely need to register before the auction starts, and by turning up early you’ll have a chance to peruse what’s on offer and decide how much you really like it.

Set a price limit
It’s easy to get carried away in the moment. If you set yourself an overall spending limit, you can avoid walking away with that sinking feeling that you’ve spent beyond your means.

Take cash 
If you end up buying, paying with cold hard $$$ might allow you to forego niggly transaction fees.

Go with measurements
If you’re looking to fill a particular space in your home, ALWAYS know your measurements. Take a tape measure along if you need to — we promise you won’t be the only one.

Be patient
There’s often a lot to get through, but there’s always good stuff at the end.

Watch your manners
Pointing at something during an auction may well see you owning it.

Don’t just walk out
Be wary of the procedures after you’ve actually purchased a piece. You may need to take the piece with you when you leave.

Manage your expectations
No matter how certain you are that an auction will reap great rewards and take-home good. Rest assured that they can truly be hit and miss so it pays to be prepared for as much.

If you’re interested in attending one, Art + Object, Bowerbank Ninow & Mossgreen-Webb’s hold regular art auctions.

Etiquette


The 10 total mood killers you should never say

A guide to attending the races

How To: Get rid of a telemarketer