Buying at an auction: is that scary?

ER Classics Desktop 2022

Classics auctions are done by famous houses such as Bonhams, RM Sotheby's and others. These days these auctions are often digital. Think of BVA Auctions and Catawiki.

The benefit in digital bidding is that the potential buyer in the heat of the battle is less carried away by the heated bidders around him. And you can bid from your own seat and at any time.

Lately, classic dealers also regularly offer their cars through (digital) auctions. The target group is then very focused. But sometimes the price in the heat of bidding can be higher than when purchased from the trader himself.

That is why a day of classics can be fun at the open days of the auction and just at the dealers themselves. Count your winnings!

All auction sales are binding. You are therefore obliged to deliver a sold lot at the highest bid, unlike MP and Speurders where madness reigns. We saw 'funny' bids of 16.500 euros for a Jawa 250 cc from 1956 and an initial bid of 666 euros for a Jensen Interceptor. The exception to the mandatory buying at auctions are lots with a 'reserve price', which are not sold as the 'reserve price' has not been achieved.

A 'reserve price' is a hidden minimum price; the minimum price at which a provider wants to sell his lot. If the auction ends and the reserve price is not offered, the lot is not sold.

You actually know nothing about the technical condition of the cars at an auction. And the auction house may be lenient, but it has no responsibility for the quality of the goods offered. You can watch on open days, but there is no test drive. We take the horror stories about shiny classics with just a mud of potatoes in the engine block with the necessary grains of salt. Certainly companies that are involved in the classic trade benefit little if such a bad purchase is milked out via social media.

. NB A placed bid is not without obligation. If you have the highest bid, you are obliged to purchase it at that price.


On lots with a high expected yield, digital auctioning may have a reserve price. If you place a bid that is lower than the reserve price, this will be clearly stated.

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