News & Features

Selling absolute mandates you “reopen bids?”

12 December 2017

Selling absolute (without reserve) dictates that the subject property is selling to the highest bidder. In other words, the buyer must be the one offering the most consideration.

However, does selling absolute mandate you reopen the bid if another bid comes in as the hammer is falling, after the hammer falls, after 24 hours, 3 days, a month …?

Absolute and high bidder isn't the buyer?

8 December 2017

We’ve discussed “cut bids” and “refusing bids” and the like before. So, here’s the bottom line of sorts. As an auctioneer/seller if you are selling a lot (property) without reserve (absolute) and put it up for bid — and receive a bid within a reasonable time — you are bound to sell it to the highest bidder.


If you don’t, your seller is open to a lawsuit by the high bidder seeking specific performance. In other words, the high bidder (even if not the buyer) can sue the seller for title. The two most notable cases regarding are here:

Sotheby's new S|2 Gallery HK director

5 December 2017

Sotheby’s announces the appointment of Jonathan Wong as gallery director, responsible for originating and presenting selling exhibitions for Sotheby’s S|2 Gallery in Hong Kong today. He will also continue to support Sotheby’s auctions of Contemporary Art in Asia.

Can auctioneers ignore bids?

4 December 2017

Selective hearing? I only see or hear bids I want to? I only have to accept offers which are acceptable to me, regardless if they are higher than the current bid? There’s only one person in charge at an auction — the auctioneer?

It’s important for auctioneers to understand that first — they are typically agents for the seller (unless they are the seller,) and not ultimately in charge over the seller, but rather work for the seller. Secondly, without bidder/buyers, auctions can be lonely places.

What exactly does selling at absolute auction mean?

29 November 2017

The word “absolute” in regard to auctions legally means the subject property is selling without reserve. Without reserve means several things including no minimum bid, no seller confirmation, no right of withdrawal after a bid is placed …, no seller bidding, no “canvassing bidders” to see if we’re going to open the auction, and the like.

At auction, can we force sellers to sell? Buyers to buy?

22 November 2017

Auctions involve an auctioneer putting a seller (client) in contract with a buyer (customer) concerning the purchase of some property. That property could be a coin, gun, car, horse, real property or a myriad of other things.

Our subject today involves when there is a breach of contract (as an auctioneer has announced, “Sold!” — for instance) and then the seller refuses to sell or the buyer refuses to buy. What happens next? Can the seller pursue the buyer for civil or criminal damages? Can the buyer pursue the seller for civil or criminal damages?