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Yes, we’ve held for as long as I have been in the auction business that there are two types of auctions: With reserve and without reserve (a.k.a absolute.) In other words, any auction is either one or the other. There are no hybrids nor other “types” of auctions.

State law all over the United States clearly denotes there are two types of auctions. You can read the same thing I’ve read here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/auction-treatise/%c2%a7-2-328-sale-by-auction/.

Yet, for years some courts, professional organizations, and others have countered that there are three types, four types, five types … and recently it was proclaimed in a court hearing that there were three types of auctions, and this third type was a “seller confirmation” auction.

However, despite this particular persistent claim of three types of auctions, there was a noteworthy brief concession shortly thereafter from this same witness that this third type was actually a version of a with reserve auction. So, as we’ve held, there are only two types of auctions as this third type is actually not a “type” but a “version” of one of the other two types?

This witness did a praiseworthy job otherwise — much of which I agree with completely. We’ve noted three types of auction-related contracts and generally, bids can be tendered (made,) recognized (received,) and accepted (or rejected.) https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2009/12/29/the-three-3-types-of-auction-contracts/.

All auctions are with reserve by default (except in Louisiana) and one must explicitly note otherwise for the auction to be without reserve — likely using terms including “without reserve” or “absolute” or maybe “no reserve?” https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2020/08/18/absolute-or-other-expressions/. Some courts have been more liberal in their interpretation, and opposing counsel noted the inherent danger in strict interpretation.

As the UCC § 2-328 notes, an auction is any individual lot. As such, no one lot can be any mixture of with reserve and without reserve, and rather one or the other. For example, “Absolute over [any amount]” is nonsensical. An auction event noting “All sells absolute” would mean all lots would be such, with no with reserve lots.

The misunderstanding of all this above is widespread and somewhat capricious apparently. Besides mixing the two types, or more than two types, what is explicit, and for that matter what is an auction? Is it one item or the entire event? https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/the-word-auction-is-the-item-or-the-event/.

In summary:

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 has served as faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.