Selling absolute (without reserve) dictates that the subject property is selling to the highest bidder. In other words, the buyer must be the one offering the most consideration.
However, does selling absolute mandate you reopen the bid if another bid comes in as the hammer is falling, after the hammer falls, after 24 hours, 3 days, a month …?
The answer to all that above is, “No.” Auctioneers are never obligated to reopen the bid after the hammer falls (such as after, “Sold!”) What they may do per the UCC 2-328 is reopen the bid if a bid comes in “While the hammer is falling …” but even that is almost always ill-advised.
Additionally, we’ve written about reopening the bid under false pretenses — most often in light of a “tie bid” or a “missed bid.” One such article is here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2017/03/23/when-can-auctioneers-reopen-the-bid/
Otherwise, inherent in contract formation and the promise to sell to the highest bidder in an absolute auction — once the auctioneer says, “Sold!” the high bidder/buyer and seller are in contract. Such contract (other than per the UCC 2-328) cannot be upset subsequent for a higher bid.
Auctioneers selling property absolute must endeavor to secure the highest bid but operate in deference to the integrity of the bidding process itself. We wrote about that here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2017/07/28/the-integrity-of-the-bidding-process/
Are you an auctioneer selling your client’s property absolute? Get all you can before you say, “Sold!” and then note the price and bid number for the clerk and move on … it is about that simple.
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, RES Auction Services and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College of Business, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and Faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University.