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You might equate the excitement at an auction to a revival, thinking in terms of a meeting for the purpose of reawakening religious faith, often characterized by impassioned preaching and public testimony.

However, from the standpoint of bidders, there is no revival of previous bids.

This subject occurs when there is an item up for bid, and there is a retraction by the high bidder. For example, Tom bids $50 and then Larry bids $55 and the auctioneer is asking Tom to bid $60. Then, Larry retracts his $55 bid, and the question becomes, is Tom “back in” at $50 now?

The answer is no, because there is no revival of previous bids.

Contractually, when Tom bid $50 there was a contract between the seller (auctioneer) and Tom for $50, contingent upon the auctioneer not receiving a higher bid, and contingent upon Tom not retracting his bid.

As soon as Larry bid $55 and it was accepted by the auctioneer, that contract with Tom became void. Upon the voiding of Larry’s contract for $55, there was no contract with Tom, nor Larry, so there were no bid calling contracts at this point at all.

What is an auctioneer to do? Most common practice would dictate that the auctioneer would ask Tom, “Would you like back in at $50?” and if Tom said, “Yes, that’s fine,” then the bidding could restart there at $50 and continue thereon.

However, if Tom said, “No thanks,” then there is no way for the auctioneer to force Tom back in at $50 — because there is no revival.

This legal concept comes from the UCC 2-328 (3).

Another technique used by some auctioneers involves selling “choice” and allowing the back-up bidder next choice. We’ll discuss the merits of choice in a later blog, but for purposes here, we think that this opens the auctioneer up to potential liability since he is giving preference to one bidder (the back-up bidder) when all other bidders have equal stance in regard to rights to purchase.

The thinking seems to be that since this bidder was just bidding prior, they have certain rights other bidders don’t have. Yet, because there is no revival, this back-up bidder stands just as any other bidder upon “Sold!”

Yes, many auctions have impassioned preaching and public testimony, but so far as prior bid revivals, don’t look for one at an auction.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Keller Williams Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. His Facebook page is: www.face book.com/mbauctioneer. He is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.