Skinner Inc.

Auctioneers and Appraisers

5 Things to Know to Help You Bid with Success

Skinner CEO Karen Keane explains the auction process in this informative video.

With her advice and the simple tips listed below, you can bid and buy at auction with confidence.

1. Preview

Look at the material in advance of the auction. This simple step is essential to successful bidding. At Skinner, all auction catalogues are posted to our website at least 10 days in advance of an auction. Many savvy bidders view the online or print catalogue and make a short list of items that they want to see in greater detail.  You may also choose to preview in person at our Boston or Marlborough gallery locations.

If you are looking for particular items, such as Wedgwood ceramics or the artist Willard Leroy Metcalf, you can use the Lot Alert feature of our website to sign-up for emails when material matching the terms is posted to our website, providing quick and convenient reminders.

2. Do your homework
Check for comparable items in books or by searching online. On this website there is an archive search feature that provides results of items sold at Skinner in the past.

3. Understand the Process
Study how an auction works, and learn the fees associated with bidding at auction. The Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) page on this site provides information for bidders and provides links to shipping companies if you cannot pick up your purchases from our galleries yourself.

4. Set your limit
Determine how much you want to bid in advance of the auction. The pace of an auction moves very quickly and it’s good to have an idea of your interest level before the lot is offered for sale. Many lots are opened, have active bidding, and are sold in under a minute!

5. Bid!
You may bid in person, online, or leave absentee bids. SkinnerLive! allows you to bid in real time over the internet from the comfort and convenience of your home or office. Bidders who cannot attend the auction or participate on the sale day may leave absentee bids at the gallery or through the website.

In the end, the best way to learn about the world of auctions is to simply register for one and join in — whether live in the auction room or live online.  Auctions are a learn-by-the-seat-of-your-pants experience — one that is highly addictive and unique compared to any other way of acquiring fine things of value.  Experience it for yourself.  I hope to see you at a Skinner auction soon!

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