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Things to Remember when Buying at Auctions

Auctions are a popular way to buy and sell stamps.  Most bidding at public stamp auctions is done by mail. When placing a bid, you enter into a contractual agreement based upon the terms or conditions of sale, which usually are printed in the auction catalogue. The submission of a bid legally binds the bidder to the terms of sale.

Payments — Always read the terms of sale before placing a bid. Unless credit terms specifically have been extended, most auction houses require payment for lots bought in advance of delivery. If you desire other terms, you should negotiate them with the auctioneer prior to the sale.

Returns — After material bought at auction has been received, it should be reviewed immediately to establish that the lots are as described and that they are acceptable to you. If lots are not acceptable, you should take prompt action for their return, as provided in the conditions of sale.

Bidding - A bidder must be prepared to pay for every lot on which he places a bid. However, many auction firms offer two common ways to limit your purchases, while still bidding on a number of items.

  1. “Or” Bids — A bidder who wants only one of several similar lots can enter what is termed an “or” bid. As soon as the bidder is successful in purchasing one of the lots, his or her bid on any subsequent lot is nullified.
     
  2. “Purchase Limits” — By specifying a “purchase limit,” you can bid on whatever items you wish, in the knowledge that once your “purchase limit” has been reached, all subsequent bids will be nullified.

“Or” bids and “Purchase Limits” should be specified clearly on the bid sheet. If you have questions about bidding practices or specific terms of sale, do not hesitate to contact the auction firm directly.

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