Auction jargon made simple



A method of selling an item in a public forum through open and competitive bidding.

Absentee bid

A procedure which allows a bidder to participate in the bidding process without being physically present. A bidder submits an offer before the auction.


The act or process of estimating value.

Auction plan

The plan for pre-auction, auction day and post-auction activities.

Auction price

The price of an item obtained through the auction method of marketing.


The person whom the seller engages to direct, conduct, or be responsible for a sale by auction.

Auction without reserve, or Absolute auction

An auction where the item is sold to the highest bidder with no limiting conditions or amount.

Auction subject to confirmation, or Reserve auction

An auction in which the seller reserves the right to establish a reserve price, to accept, or decline any and all bids, or to withdraw the item at any time before the announcement of the completion of sale.


A prospective buyer's indication, or offer of a price he, or she will pay to purchase an item at auction. Bids are usually in standardised increments established by the auctioneer.

Bidder number

The number issued to each person who registers at an auction.

Broker participation

An arrangement for third-party brokers to register potential bidders for properties being sold at auction for a commission paid by the owner of the property, or the auction firm.

Catalogue, or brochure

A publication that advertises and describes the items available for sale at public auction.


The person employed by the principal auctioneer, or auction firm to record what is sold and to whom and for what price.


The fee charged to the seller by the auctioneer for providing services, usually a percentage of the gross selling price of the items, established by contract before the auction.

Conditions of sale

The legal terms that govern the conduct of an auction, including methods of payment, terms, buyers' premiums, possession, reserves and any other conditions announced by the auctioneer before to the start of the auction.

Due diligence

The process of gathering information about the condition and legal status of assets to be sold.

Opening bid

The first bid offered by a bidder at an auction.

On-site auction

An auction conducted on the premises of the property, or items being sold.


Specified date and time items are available for prospective buyer viewing and audits.


The minimum price a seller is willing to accept for an item to be sold on auction.