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calf-362170_1920The first auction I remember attending by myself was an auction conducted by Horace J. (Jr.) Kramer near Eaton, Ohio.

There was a large crowd in attendance. People just parked, walked up to the auction area, and started bidding.

No registration; no numbers issued.

Jr. would say, “Sold!” for a price and then … say the bidders name; he knew everyone. The clerk wrote down the name and the next item was put up for bid. When buyers checked out, the cashier would look up their purchases by their name.

While this method of (no) registration can still be found in places, it’s rare today. Most all auctions require a sign-up of some sort, with bid numbers assigned to expedite the auction.

Our question today is: “What does being granted a number mean?” Further, “Does a bid number grant the right to bid?”

I’ve said it for years, especially at real property auctions … “You must be registered to bid.” In other words, I will not take your bid unless you’re registered; however do I have to take a [your] bid if you’re registered?

Bids are offers to enter into a contract. If that bid (bidder) is competent (at least 18 years of age and not incompetent,) offers sufficient consideration (an offer higher than the current bid,) and provides for a meeting of the minds (offering on what is being offered, compliant with the terms of the auction, etc.,) then the bid must be taken.

And it’s worth noting that at a with reserve auction, those terms can dictate a minimum acceptable advance over the prior bid, while at a without reserve auction they cannot (or at least a one-half cent as we discussed here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2016/01/25/the-smallest-increment/)

For that matter, being required to register for a bid number may be part of the terms and conditions intrinsic in forming the contract. For example, terms often include that the bidder must be properly registered.

Registering to bid is an agreement of sorts between the auctioneer and the bidder, and somewhat synonymous to being issued a license — permission to bid with certain conditions, with the auctioneer-licensor retaining the rights to suspend or revoke that license (permission.)

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, Real Estate Showcase and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College of Business, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School and Faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University.