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seahorsefanatic

Dubious Auction Practices

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seahorsefanatic    10
seahorsefanatic

It has come to my attention while attending an auction recently, the old trick of inflating the floor price with a person in the crowd pushing up the bidding without really wanting the item. This is not new and applies to all types of auctions. How does one combat this ?

 

What usually happens when this gets noticed is to chase up the bidding and then pull out leaving the stoodge in the crowd with the item at an inflated price. If your timing is wrong then you might end up with the item. At the end of the day, not a satisfying experience for anyone.

 

The auction in question had someone bidding on over 40 items in an auction that had about 100 lots !!!! Im a keen collector but not that keen. The average amount of lots in an auction of about 100 that I would be interested in may be 10-15.

 

One also has to read the auctioneers carefully. When they want more for an item then the bidding increments are chased up quickly and when an item is less desirable the bidding increments are slower. This shows an auctioneer using the crowd to his advantage to milk the best price for the item - not strictly illegal but definately unethical. The auctioneer hopes the prospective bidders get what they call in rugby circles - " white line fever " and bids higher than they would have.

 

At the end of the day one has to be aware of these practices and go to an auction with limits on your bidding in mind and stick to it.

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ATA STAMP CENTRE    10
ATA STAMP CENTRE

Hi David,yes that is a timeless practise and more prevalent in the present economic climate when the auctioneer and his suppliers are looking for a return on their goods.As i have attended numerous auctions due to the nature of my businesses i am well versed with this practise and am always on the lookout for any bidding of this type-I would normally position myself at the back of the room so as to be able to see who is bidding and then decide if it is genuine or not.The best is as you say is to stick to your limit and not get carried away-Recently i attended an auction and stopped at my limit of R5000 for a particular lot and this lot then went up to R11500 in no time and with me not even being able to see who was bidding.I left dissapointed but to my surprise the auctioneer contacted me the next day and offered the lot to me at my last bid of R5000 with the story that the winning bidder could not make payment etc!!! I was of course happy but i now view these particular auctions with circumspection!!My belief is that auctions are there for the purpose of realising instant cash return for your product and if you receive less than it is worth and less than you want then do not auction your product-Sell through a different avenue and try to get your price but then be prepared to wait to realise this price.At auction You will many times get a good return on your product and must offset this against the times you do not.I love auctions and the rush and there is nothing better than getting a bargain and selling for bargain prices too.Long live auctions and longer living to the ethical auctioneers,regards,Neil

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kennyn    10
kennyn

Hi Dave

I hear from a very reliable source that one of the items in question, namely modern mint material from a country that Lionel Messi plays for may be reappearing very shortly as the buyer is not entirely happy with his purchase.

He who laughs last laughs loudest

(sorry to the rest of the forum for the private joke)

cheers Kenny

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dstorm    10
dstorm

Hello KennyN

Slightly off topic.

As you know (being a poor stamp dealer) I cannot afford DSTV and therefore I am a philistine as far as quality soccer is concerned. Yet I was treated by the SABC to the wonderful Barcelona vs I Milan game on Tuesday night. Your Mr MESSi MESSsed up?

On Saturday it will be SAPDA vs Boksburg.

Regards

Jacques

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seahorsefanatic    10
seahorsefanatic

Hi Neil, Kenny and Jacques

 

I will definately be laughing the loudest at the end :P It will be interesting to see if an Argentina collection comes up in the next few months. Otherwise the easy alternative for me will be Ebay where I have just filled a lot of Belgium gaps.

 

I have totally forgotten what is was like before the internet when you only had local dealers to work with or the slow correspondence one had to endure when dealing with overseas.

 

On the topic have you noticed how some auctioners play their audience to try and get the bidding going. I was at an auction some years ago and the floor bidding was very slow, so to speed thing up the auctioner asked for a R1 bid and as soon as he had it, the item was knocked down immediately and everyone woke up very quickly hoping for further bargains

 

No-one said the auctioneers job was easy. Sometimes the auctioneer is asked to start a lot again because someone on the floor wanted the item but was fast asleep. As a bidder I used to agree and then ended up still getting the item but at a higher price. No more - if you snooze you loose !!!!!

 

Auctions will always have a place in philately as they are fun and the interaction between the auctioneer and buyers is crucial for a successfull auction. What I find is more fun is the interaction between buyers. Here is where you meet all the characters

 

Is'nt it odd that the SAPDA show when it happens always seems to clash with the end of the month fair - or am I mistaken. Will be going to the SAPDA show but would'nt miss the East Rand Fair for anything

 

Have a great day and enjoy the rugby if you watching.

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BABADAUD    10
BABADAUD

Greetings All!

 

Dodgy auction practice is pretty well universal.

And not just with auctioneers.

In UK some years ago I gained an undeserved reputation for knowing my stuff. I soon found myself unable to buy anything worthwhile at a sensible price as various parties homed in on the lots which I viewed and bid on. Eventually I sent a learned friend to view for me and place commission bids with the auctioneer in his name whilst I on the day viewed and bid on, but never won, piles of kak. All rather tiresome and frustrating. But rewarding in several ways. My reputation soon waned and I thence happily & profitably foraged on equal terms with ( & amongst) my fellow toss-pots.

Many a time I have challenged an auctioneer for the name or number of the chandelier off which he had just just bounced a bid only to be informed that the lot was 'with' me ( at one step over my previous bid). I lost count of the number of lots which had to be re-started due to such 'confusion' of myself or of the auctioneer.

I am afraid that many auctioneers, regardless of their impressive strings of professional letters and stops, are actually pretty duff when it comes to fair, transparent and above board dealings. I regularly attended a monthly household auction near London during the 70s, 80s, 90s & naughties. A most charming & obliging fellow usually was the auctioneer. One time I was chasing a pair of beautifully worked elephant tusks and eventually gave up at GBP1800 (these sorts of thing usually go for about GBP300). One of the porters was doing the bidding and looking terribly and increasingly anxious as the price rose. Apparently she had a commission from another regular buyer 'to buy them'. "Buy" bids are a no-no in any reputable firm. The successful bidder had disappeared. The auctioneer approached me and we discussed the business of the buy bid etc etc. He stated that he would call me if the man failed to show / pay and the lot would be mine at GBP 1750. He was a little taken aback when I stated that the top bid in the room prior to the porter bidding was GBP220 & that was the realization without the buy bid and that, in the event of a no-show, was the winning bid. Needless to say I wasn't phoned. I enquired about the tusks on my next visit and was told that the fellow had turned up, had paid and was delighted.

So all was good in the end.

Or was it?

 

One little ploy which I found does work well in a dud sale with little real action and an auctioneer who is tempting bidding is to catch the auctioneers eye, stare him down and state very loudly "One bid only...". But, with that huge legion of (especially philatelic)auctioneers who are not pukkah auctioneers (in that they are flogging their own gear rather than operating on commission on sales for third parties) this will not work.

The interaction between auctioneer and punter, whilst it can be fun, is actually a most hazardous phenomenon and often leads to what can only be described as travesty. So many times have I witnessed an effervescent auctioneer in full flow of repartee (usually with non bidders) knock down a lot whilst there are people frantically waving, flapping and shouting their bids. And then, when advised of the desire to bid, scornfully remonstrates that they should pay attention & keep up. Much rather a dry old stick who attends to the business of auctioneering whilst leaving the antics of vaudeville to the luvvies.

 

But - having waffled out all of that - auctions can be pretty damn fine things. I have enjoyed many fun and profitable days out at auctions. They are also a wonderful medium for learning. One can occasionally get up really close and handle the most arcane and valuable material usually only visible from behind glass.

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dstorm    10
dstorm
In UK some years ago I gained an undeserved reputation for knowing my stuff. I soon found myself unable to buy anything worthwhile at a sensible price as various parties homed in on the lots which I viewed and bid on.

Hello Babadaud

Welcome to the stamp forum. I hope that you will stay on and that we will disagree on many issues…..

As a dealer, I have the same problem as you have mentioned above. Many collectors, knowing that I am in the market for a profit, will simply go one bidding step higher, outbidding me in the process. That is why I do not mind to now and then act as an agent for collectors.

Are you in Hanover RSA? If so, that must be lovely. Almost exactly halfway between Johannesburg and Cape Town?

Keep well and regards

Jacques

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lilythepink    10
lilythepink

There is also a farming community at Hanover, between Berlin and East London, in the Eastern Cape, SA.

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seahorsefanatic    10
seahorsefanatic

Hi Babadaud & everyone else

 

I enjoyed your posting and agree with much you wrote. As I was reading your posting it brought back recollections of auctions past. Is the human race not a fascinating species ?

 

What I see cropping up these days on auction are facsimiles of classic stamps that you can merrily bid on and place in your collection because the real deal is just too expensive. Why would one want to place a facsimile in your collection which is probably the top value of a set which you have the rest of which are original and probably cost a few thousand anyway. Now you have a complete set with the facsimile spoiling the whole set. Who are you fooling ?

 

 

Maybe there is a market to photocopy your good stamps and sell them as facsimiles. After all a facsimile is a photocopy.

 

 

What do you think of this new trend ?

Edited by seahorsefanatic

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BABADAUD    10
BABADAUD

Greetings Lily & Jaques!

 

Many thanks for your kind words.

 

I am in Hanover, North Cape, on the N1 midway between Gauteng & Cape.

 

Very quiet & peaceful place, though very much busier than when I first arrived 15 years ago.

 

I can understand the appeal of facsimiles to some collectors. But facsimiles are rather a bore.

I do, however, really enjoy a good forgery intended to defraud e.g. those marvellous G.B. Stock Exchange 1/=. The works of the likes of Sperati & Fournier, designed to fool collectors are another fascinating genre. And often very handsome work indeed. But simple replicas with which to fill spaces are really of no merit especially given the ease of high quality reproduction and production of images in the modern world. As you say, they are mere scans and prints! So why bother to buy. Download and print for free.

 

One American fellow on Ebay a while a go was selling at $5 a piece b+w "forgeries" of inexpensive & common Commonwealth Postage Dues e.g. KUT 5cents. They are, I am sure, nothing more than illustrations cut from good quality printed album pages & then mass reproduced. He declined to forward any provenance other than they were full size. WoW! But even I know how to re-size.

 

It seems as though the hunger for the off-beat & the unusual knows no bounds and there are many little niches waiting to be filled. In a recent thread on Stampboards the problem of delivery to USA buyers was raised as overseas registered go into the main stream and at destination only are they then subject to receipt of signature (if anybody can be bothered). Lots of registered packets have gone astray. One suggested solution to the delivery problem - email or fax the stamps!

 

Could be fun.....

And the end of collecting as we know and love it.

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dstorm    10
dstorm
email or fax the stamps!

 

 

Brilliant idea!

 

Then I will be able to relist all the varieties!

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