ABOUT Mail Auctions


A mail auction is an auction where all items are presented in a catalogue and bids are sent in by mail. The bids are accepted up until a stated cut-off time. All bids are opened at a designated time with the highest bidder above the estimate, winning the item.

Open Bid Auctions permit the bids to be opened as they arrive and share the high bids with other bidders.

Sealed Bids are opened at a prescribed time and the highest qualified bidder wins. Bidders in this type of auction must provide their highest bid.


The timing in a mail auction does not allow last-minute bidding and the lack of a “live” element often excludes bidder participation. The bidding lacks transparency with both the buyer and seller must trust the auctioneer. A mail auction is not considered a Public Auction.

Harmers will only use Mail Auctions for Sealed Bids

We will only use mail auctions when the seller is compelled by law or court order to sell the material in that fashion.

We prefer a Public auction and believe live bidding offers the most opportunities for bidders.

When sealed bidding is required, Harmers recommends that the agency accepts sealed bidding in conjunction with a live public auction.

Harmer’s staff includes a certified government project manager with over 14 years of experience in government accounting, processes and bidding requirements. Harmers International is CMR listed and offers special government rates for services.

Please see information for Governments and Institutions for more information.