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  • Writer's pictureMike Brandly, Auctioneer

Why is the online auction final sale price not listed?

I was just finishing up calling absentee bidders following our “Every Wednesday” auction, and talking with a successful bidder in New Jersey.

He won about $700 worth of items, and inquired about the selling prices of a few other items on which he left absentee bids.

I’m glad to comply … telling him that one lot sold for $260 (about $50 over his bid) and another sold for $170 (about $20 over his bid.)

This buyer seems overly pleased that I disclosed what the other two lots sold for at our auction. In fact he informed me, “I bid frequently online and many times the winning bid (the price realized) is not disclosed — even if I ask.”

It would be unconventional for a live auctioneer to list all items sold and their realized price — but all the sold prices are announced for all in attendance to hear; however, for an online auction, why wouldn’t the price realized be listed for all to see?

Reasons I could think of …

  1. The software doesn’t have that feature

  2. The auction company doesn’t have time and/or expertise to upload

  3. The auction company lacks the authority to post the prices

  4. The auction company doesn’t want to display the prices

I doubt software of this type lacks this feature and guess it’s more-or-less automatic. Further, I doubt most auction companies doing online auctions lack the expertise to upload (display) prices realized. Lastly, by selling at auction, most all sellers realize and accept that the selling price will become public knowledge.

So, does the auction company not want to display the prices? And, if they don’t want to display them, why not?

In talking to our absentee bidder tonight, I was quite anxious and proud to tell him other realized prices. I figure if he can’t buy at our auction (because prices are too high) maybe he’ll ask us to sell some things for him (which he did.)

I remember coming home from school quite eager to tell my parents when I got good grades, but not so anxious to tell them if I got bad grades. Does an online auction company not posting prices realized signal to the public that those prices may not be very good? I think maybe so.

If the prices are good, why not post them? If they aren’t very good …

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: He serves as Adjunct Faculty at Columbus State Community College and is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.

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