Whether you’re bidding with a mouse, a phone, or a paddle, every experience buying at auction is unique and exciting. Skinner experts will gladly inform you about the history and condition of items, and assist you with the auction process. Conditions of Sale

Live Online


Bid live in any Skinner auction from the comfort and convenience of your own home, or wherever you may find yourself. Experience the room – See each lot in real time, listen to the auctioneer, and press the “place bid” button to send a bid when you’re ready to participate. 

Before the auction

Before the auction starts, use the “bid live” button on the auction schedule to browse the auction and register to participate. If this is your first time bidding through the Skinner website, you will need to create an account first.

During the auction

Use the “bid live” button on the auction schedule to see and hear the auction taking place live. Follow the prompts to log in to participate. Your account must be approved by Skinner before you can start bidding, and we encourage you to complete this step in advance of the auction. If you’d simply like to watch the auction, no registration is required.

Register separately for each auction

Each auction is a unique event. Even if you have participated with Skinner in the past, you will need to register to receive a paddle number for each upcoming auction you’d like to bid in. 


Contact Online Support for assistance during auction hours, or Monday through Friday, 9AM – 5PM. Read the Conditions of Sale for more information. 


In Person

In Person, from the Auction Floor

There’s nothing quite like the thrill and drama of participating in a live auction. To bid in person, you’ll need to arrive in enough time to register and receive a paddle number before your lots of interest are offered. If it is your first time bidding with us, please bring a form of picture identification, such as a passport or driver’s license.

Skinner holds auctions at its galleries in Boston and Marlborough, Massachusetts. View hotel and dining suggestions for each location.

Driving directions    Plan your visit


Registration typically opens 30 minutes prior to the auction start time. Visit the registration desk to register and receive a paddle number. You are then welcome to take a seat in the auction gallery.


The auction will begin when the auctioneer asks for an opening bid on the first lot. Bidding proceeds according to Skinner’s standard increments, or at the auctioneer’s discretion. The auctioneer will accept bids from the floor, the telephones, internet and absentee bids, also referred to as left bids or order bids.

Each lot in the auction catalog will be presented in order, and the pace of bidding can be as much as 100 lots per hour. Estimate your time accordingly and plan to be here at least ten lots before your item of interest comes up for bid.

When your lot does come up, be prepared to raise your paddle. The auctioneer will accept your competitive bids along with all others until the final hammer price is reached and the auctioneer announces, “sold.”


If you are the winning bidder, congratulations! Please refer to our post-auction services to learn how to pay and take possession of your new purchase.


Telephone Bidding

Join the action of a live auction from your telephone. On auction day, a Skinner representative will call you and bid with you over the phone as if you were in the saleroom. Phone bidding is available as a convenience at select auctions. Phone bidding is not offered for online-only timed auctions. 

At least twenty-four hours in advance of an auction, you may complete and submit the Skinner Bid Form to request phone bidding indicating the lots that you wish to bid by phone.

Complete the Phone Bid Request Form


If you are the winning bidder, congratulations! Please refer to our post-auction services to learn how to pay and take possession of your new purchase.


Use our contact us form or phone 508-970-3211.


Absentee Bidding

Absentee bids will be executed by Skinner on your behalf during a live auction. Your absentee bid should be the maximum amount that you are willing to bid. The auctioneer will bid competitively for you up to that amount using the standard auction increments, meaning that you could potentially end up winning your lot for less than your absentee bid price.

Find the lot(s) that interest you, and use the “Place Bid”  button. You will be able to watch the lot from your Skinner account. If your maximum bid is outbid, you will receive an email and push notification if you have downloaded our free app.  Online absentee bidding offers convenience and privacy.

Register to Leave Bids Online


If you are the winning bidder, congratulations! Please refer to our post-auction services to learn how to pay and take possession of your new purchase.

In the event of a tie between absentee bids, the absentee bid that Skinner received first will take priority. That’s a good reason to get your bids in early.

Questions? email or phone 508-970-3000

Timed Online

How to Bid in Timed Online Auctions

In addition to live auctions, Skinner offers fixed-time, online auctions. These online-only auctions allow Skinner to bring more high-quality items to auction in an easy-to-use, web-based format. Please read the Conditions of Sale for more information.

1. Create an Account

If you have previously created an account on the Skinner website, you may proceed to step 2.

Create an account on in order to participate online for any Skinner auction.

When you have successfully created an account, you will receive an email confirmation.

2. Visit the online auction

Visit the auction schedule and click “View Lots” to browse the auction. Use the search box in the upper right hand corner of this page to search for items by name, category, or keyword. Some auctions also have a “View” link for a PDF or “flipbook” format of auction highlights.

3. Log in

Click on the “Register to Bid” button to register for the specific auction. Enter your email address and password. If you recently created an account, please wait for an email confirming that your account has been approved.

If you have forgotten your password, use theLogin Reminder to retrieve your credentials.

4. Receive approval to bid

Each auction is a unique event. Even if you have bid in Skinner auctions in the past, your registration will be individually processed. You will receive an email when you have been approved to bid in the auction. 

5. Add lots to your “Watchlist”

Watch lots to keep track of of items that interest you, then view the lots from your Skinner profile in the upper right of the screen. 

6. Bid online

Use the red “PLACE BID” button to place a maximum bid on an item. Select the bid value from the drop-down, or type in your own bid. Use the red “BID” button to confirm your entry. Bids are executed using standard increments.

High bid
When the high bid is with you, you will see a message on screen. You will see your bidding activity in the personalized dashboard from the upper right of your screen. 

If another bidder places a higher maximum bid, you will see an outbid message on screen and you will receive an email alerting you that you have been outbid.

7. Keep track of all your activity 

Interested in following a lot? Tap the star next to the lot number to add the lot to your watched items. Access the lots you are watching or bidding on from your profile in the upper right of the web-page, or the in-app menu. 

8. Download our free app 

Visit the Apple Store or Google Play to download our free app. Features include: quick Registration, search, browse and view all upcoming auctions, view high-res images with zoom feature, follow upcoming lots, push notifications to ensure you engage on items of interest, track bidding history and activity, watch live auctions, and bid live using our simple “swipe to bid” interface.

Important Information

Timed online auction bidding

The only method for participating in a timed online auction is through online bidding. Skinner cannot accept absentee bids, phone bids, or live internet bids for fixed-time online-only auctions.

Bid Increments

Bids will be placed in standard increments. All bids are in United States Dollars. If two bidders bid the same maximum amount, the first bid placed will be the accepted bid. 

Pending Status

Auction registration requests will be processed during business hours, Monday to Friday, 9AM to 5PM ET. We appreciate your patience, as we process each request individually. Please browse the catalog and add lots to your watchlist while waiting for approval to bid. You will receive an email when your registration has been approved.

Email and Push notification

You will receive email notification when you have been approved for an auction, and when a bid you have placed in a timed online auction has been outbid. Onscreen messaging and push notifications provide helpful and timely information for active bidders. Please add to your safe senders list to ensure that you receive our emails.

Staggered end times

Lots in a timed online auction will end over a period of time. Please refer to the countdown timer beside a lot to determine when bidding will end. 


In the event that competitive bidding takes place within the last ten minutes of the auction, time will be added in ten minute increments. This feature is intended to prohibit sniping software and activity. Please refer to the countdown timer beside a lot to determine if time has been added.

Buyer’s Premiums

A buyer’s premium of 25% applies to timed online auction purchases. Please read the Conditions of Sale for more information.

Winning bidder

The winning bidder is the current high bidder when bidding closes. If you are the winning bidder, you will be notified by email within 24-hours of the auction. Information on payment and post-sale services is available here.

Terms and Conditions

Sales are subject to the Skinner Conditions of Sale.


For questions or more information about fixed-time auctions, please contact us at or 508-970-3279. Support is available Monday to Friday, 9AM to 5PM ET, or during auction hours.