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Ringmen (and ring women) often have to communicate that a bid has been offered by a bidder so that the auctioneer notes such a bid. To do so, many people working the auction ring yell, wave a flag, raise their arms, blow a whistle, etc.

For those who wish to express an affirmative, something like “Yes” is often used. Yet, what about Yep, Yeah, Yup, or other similar words? Maybe each ringman uses a different word, so the auctioneer knows if it’s Harry (Yes,) Tom (Yep,) or Dave (Yeah?)

Some contend that “Yes” is more clear, and easier on the vocal cords? Maybe “Yep” is quicker to say? Could “Yeah” be heard better? Maybe “Yes” is a real bid and “Yep” is not so much? Regardless, it would be prudent for the auctioneer and his/her ring workers to discuss this prior to the auction.

Before you say that no auctioneer ever takes fictitious bids with the assistance of someone working the ring, it does happen … and especially bidders with resources can and do seek recourse: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2018/06/18/how-the-auction-industry-lost-at-least-one-bidder/.

Further, to avoid confusion and thinking there are [resolvable] tie bids, missed bids, late bids, disputed bids, lucky bids, obtuse bids, vapor bids, thermal bids, irate bids, magic bids, latent bids, skulk bids, wicked bids … and any other number of other variations you might see … discuss with your staff which type of bids you are relaying and which you are not.

Are there tie, missed, late, disputed, lucky, obtuse, vapor, thermal, irate, magic, latent, skulk, and/or wicked bids? We addressed the first four here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2020/10/07/disputed-missed-late-and-tie-bids/. We’ll continue to monitor for further nonsense and comment when it appears.

Bidders sometimes yell, wink, nod, use their hands, and other more concealed methods of bidding so ring workers need to be attentive to all types including less than obvious bidding. We have consistently held that it’s better to accept a bid that isn’t, than not accept a bid that is.

Finally, it’s important for auctioneers to stay in good communication with the ring workers to ensure they know if their bidder is in or out. Without good communication, there can be disappointment, confusion, and even legal issues. Of course, as the subject property value increases, the importance of accuracy is heightened.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Brandly Real Estate & Auction, and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, and an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and Western College of Auctioneering. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.