Online live auctions for props? General advice?

thegreatgalling

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Hey gang,

This past year, I finally began to add screenused items to my collection thanks to propstore and screenused. I like their layouts, and while some items get sold quickly, I have generally been able to purchase most of my choice items.

I have seen a few live auctions (profiles type, propworx) and have been intimidated to bid because of my preconception that it's very hard to win any item for less that $4000-5000. Is that a correct assumption? I am sure some items go for less, but feel like unless I came in with serious cash I'd be the squirrel in the road as the bidders zipped by. :lol

I feel like I lost out on a few items because of this, particularly some great Trek items.
 
I bought from the Propworks BSG auction a few years ago. With Auctions, You end up paying a buyers premium with them too... so the item is more than you bid. Then you have shipping rates that are more than 50-70% handling charge. And you have people caught up in the MUST WIN AT ALL COSTS bidding wars so you pay more than you might have wanted for the item, THEN have the added stuff tacked on too.

That being said, I love the costume I bought, and don't particularly regret it, but I paid more than I probably would have had propstore had it. *shrug* I've actually been backwards and now look more at the prop store fronts than the auctions.

You can get stuff less than 3000.00 with them though. It IS possible. But the big ticket items that there are only ONE of , well, everyone going at it drives the price up obviously.

If you set limits for youself, you'd probably be fine. Especially if you are going after the items they have multiples of. Smaller props and not Hero items. etc.
 
There are always bargains to be had at auctions like these. I've picked up a few pieces for the opening bids... other times you pay much more of course! LOL

As for the online part, I can't answer that. Most people I know seem to prefer phone bidding (my preference as well).

At the end of the day, if you give it a shot, who knows what'll happen! Nothing to lose really. If you don't win, you simply won't have a prop you already didn't have ;)

Tom
 
Forgot to mention I was online bidding. I think it made me not realize how much money I was bidding too. I think if I would have actually had to hear the number outloud over the phone I might have balked more lol

You never know until you try though. You may end up being really good at it and scoring a bunch of deals :)
 
Having only dealt with Profiles, this may be of limited use. I've bid on several items - been blown out of the water with a few, came close on a few more, and won a couple.

You have nothing to lose by trying.

At no time did I bid more than what I felt the item was worth to me. (Key words are "to me".) I tried to approach it as if I were in a retail store - what would I pay for it if I saw it on a store shelf? Obviously, it were cheap, I'd grab it. That's not the point. At what point would you walk away from an item when you saw the price tag? That's your max bid.

I also never participated "live", though I have been to a couple of their auctions in person. When I submitted a bid, I just used the form in the back of the catalog and faxed it over with my item #'s and bids.

If you are going up against someone with deeper pockets than yourself, you will never win. Even if you get the item, you may wind up getting caught up in a bidding war and go past what you would have thought to be a reasonable price......... and that may not be a 'win'.

Gene
 
I have seen a few live auctions (profiles type, propworx) and have been intimidated to bid because of my preconception that it's very hard to win any item for less that $4000-5000. Is that a correct assumption?
Absolutely not true, my man! There are always nice pieces available at just about any price point from $100 up. There are a few things you really have to keep in mind when you first start bidding in live auctions, though.

1. Don't forget that a buyer's premium (a shady but well-established way of getting the buyer to pay a commission) ranging from 18% to 23% will be tacked on to whatever the final hammer price is.

2. Pre-auction estimates can be wildly inaccurate, which can be very discouraging when you think 'Well I can afford that!' before the auction starts, only to see everything you want going for 2X, 5X, 10X the expected price.

3. Shipping charges can vary from reasonable to completely outrageous. Doesn't hurt to inquire about estimated shipping charges for particular pieces before the auction, to avoid nasty surprises.

4. Just because a big name auctioneer says a particular piece is screenused, don't count on it being true. The degree of effort put into authentication varies widely, and many many replicas have been passed off as originals over the years. With all the charges the auction houses throw at us, you'd think we could count on them to offer only properly vetted pieces, but this just isn't and has never been the case. Gotta do your own homework whenever possible.

5. Online bidding works great if you have a fast internet connection and a stable fast computer with an up-to-date browser and java plugins. Otherwise, you might experience problems with entered bids not being registered, resulting in losing out for less than you were willing to pay. It's never happened to me but people always talk about this after major auctions.
 
Thanks RKP!

I get the impression the estimated prices are typically low to manage the expectations of the consignors too and even to draw in initial bidding.
 
Online bidding works great if you have a fast internet connection and a stable fast computer with an up-to-date browser and java plugins. Otherwise, you might experience problems with entered bids not being registered, resulting in losing out for less than you were willing to pay. It's never happened to me but people always talk about this after major auctions.

When I watching the PIH Chitty Car auction live, I made sure my mouse pointer was in the corner, and the mouse in a drawer :lol

The bidding speed on all items was FAST.
 
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