ABOUT 01. In Person Bidding


Live Bidding is when a bidder personally physically attends the auction to execute his bids. Television often depicts Live Bidding as a fast-paced, chaotic event with a fast-talking auctioneer and a lot of drama in a crowded room.  At Harmers, this TV auction is very far from the truth. Bidding in our auction live is a very civilized experience.

The Harmer Family auction-style and hospitality is known and copied worldwide.

Success Factors

  • Know the travel time to the auction and plan
  • Read the Conditions of Sale
  • Pre-Register for the Auction
  • Discuss terms with the auctioneer.
  • Tie bids are awarded to the Floor


  • No Backup Plan
  • Not reading the Catalog Description
  • Not Discussing Special Credit Terms

When you attend an auction in person, you have direct access to the auction staff.  Being there makes answering questions about the lots or our policies much easier.  Being on-site makes addressing any issues that may arise with your bids much easier.  Harmers offers viewing up until the lot is sold; this allows bidders to combine viewing and attendance.  Personal attendance is one of the most reliable ways to bid.  If you are in the area for other business, attending the auction can be easy; if you need to travel, in-person bidding may not be as convenient as other bidding methods.  Hotels, travel and meals can be costly.  We can help you with travel arrangements if needed.

In-Person auctions do not rely on your technology to place bids; changing bids or making last-minute decisions is easy because you are on the floor.  In-Person Bidders enjoy networking with the Harmer staff and other attendees.  If you absolutely have to have an item and want the most control over your bid and be in total control of the environment

Attending a Harmer’s auction in person is often entertaining and well worth the trip.

What to Expect

Sales catalogues are generally mailed to our customers three-four weeks before the auction to allow potential bidders to inspect the items prior to bidding.

The auction’s date, time, and location is listed in the sale catalogue and posted on our website. We would be happy to send you a reminder if you would like. We intentionally try to schedule our auctions around other auctions in the area, allowing attendees to efficiently use time and travel dollars.  We have no control over the schedule of other auction houses, and some are not as cooperative as other companies.

Before the auction, day registers to bid so that we know you are coming.  You should provide the section you will be bidding in.  Your information helps us to plan seating which is very important to comply with any WHO safety regulations.  Discuss any special terms or extensions you will need prior to the day of the auction.  If you are new to Harmers International, Inc. and plan to spend over $5,000, don’t hesitate to contact us in advance and provide credit references.

On the day of the auction, show up early.  Make certain you allow enough travel time to avoid disappointment.  You will need to register for a bidding number.  (This allows a degree of anonymity post-auction).   You will request bidding initials.  We are old-fashioned auctioneers and do not use paddles but rely on you to bid using a preference signal.  If the signal is subtle, please disclose your signal to the auctioneer so that he does not assume you are bidding when in fact, you are just wiping your nose.      An observer may notice some “unique” bidding signals, but please be clear to avoid disappointment; the auctioneer’s decision is final.

Please make certain the auctioneer recognizes your bid.    A member of the Harmer family often personally auctioneers a Harmer Auction, and old habits are hard to break. Please speak up; years in the navy has taken their toll on the auctioneer’s hearing.

Harmers International, Inc. does not use auction paddles, and each of our bidders has their own, often unique, signal to the auctioneer.

Make certain that the auctioneer sees and acknowledges your bid; if you have a doubt, SPEAK UP, this is not a silent auction.  Listen closely to the auctioneer because the bidding increments and opening amounts may change based upon any given lot. The bidding increments are at the discretion of the auctioneer. The auction can be fast, so pay attention and make certain the auctioneer knows you are bidding, particularly if you plan to jump in at the last minute. If you are having trouble understanding the auction, speak up and ask for clarification before you bid.

If you know that you would like to have the expertise at the time of your bid, please indicate such when your bid is knocked down.  Please familiarize yourself with the conditions of sale.

Strenths and Weaknesses