Rock Island Auction Company

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Bidding FAQ
    1. How can I bid on an item?
      There are numerous ways to bid on an item.
      Live bidding in person: Come to our facility, register to bid, and wave that bidder’s paddle!
      Live bidding via phone: Contact us in advance of the auction to tell us you’d like to be a phone bidder. Before the items you’d like to win come up for bid, a RIAC employee sitting in the auction hall will call you and bid for you based on your instructions over the phone. It’s as close to being in the auction hall as it gets.
      Telephone bidding can also be set up via the RIAC webpage. When placing a bid on our Online Catalog, simply change the pulldown menu from “Sealed Bid” to “Telephone Bid.”
      Live bidding online: By registering in advance on their websites, you can use one of our third-party partners such as Invaluable or Proxibid to watch the auction stream online and bid in real time. Keep in mind that these 3rd party providers often charge an extra 3% for their services.
      Absentee Bidding: Absentee bids are also referred to as sealed bids. These bids can be submitted to RIAC via any number of means: our website, email, fax, phone, or by mailing in an Absentee Bid Form.
    2. I am outside the U.S. Can I bid?
      Yes. We are excited to have a growing number of bidders in the international community. Please make sure that you contact your local government to discuss regulations regarding firearm ownership and discuss shipping with customs in regards to getting firearms into the country.
    3. What is an absentee bid?
      An absentee bid, or sealed bid, is used when you choose not to bid live. You tell us a maximum figure you would like to bid, and we execute bids on your behalf up to that number and no higher – like eBay. You do not have to reach your maximum amount to win an item. The easiest way to browse and submit absentee bids is via the RIAC webpage at
    4. Can I win an absentee bid for less than my designated amount?
      Yes. In fact, we’ll win the item for the lowest amount possible. For example. If you place a bid for $1,000, and the only other bid is for $500, then we would only bid for you one additional time (to $550) to become the winner.
    5. What is the “Buyer’s Premium”?
      A buyer’s premium is a percentage added to your winning bid. It’s how auction houses pay the bills. At Rock Island Auction Company, the buyer’s premium is 15% if you pay by cash, check, or wire transfer. If paying by credit card, the premium is 17.5%
    6. Who wins if there is a tie in the absentee bids?
      If there are no live bidders to break the tie, the item is awarded to the earliest bid placed.
    7. What is a +1 or +2?
      You may have noticed these when submitting a sealed bid. A “plus 1” or “plus 2” is also used to help break ties. For example, say your bid is $500 and so is someone else’s. By placing a “+1” on the bid, you’re saying that we can place one extra bid to help you win the item, in this case $550. A “+2” gives us permission to place 2 extra bids. It’s a helpful way to stay within a budget, but still win items if you’re close.
    8. Can I cancel an absentee bid?
      Yes, if the item has not sold already. Please let us know as soon in advance if you can.
      If you are bidding live through a 3rd party, you must contact them to cancel your bid. We are not able to cancel bids placed with any other live bidding site.
    9. What are bid increments?
      They are set numbers that our auctioneers must adhere to as bids go higher and higher. See the table below to know when the amounts change.$50 – $200 →$10 increments
      $200 – $500 →$25 increments
      $500 – $1,000 →$50 increments
      $1000 – $2,000 →$100 increments
      $2,000 – $5,000 →$250 increments
      $5,000 – $10,000 →$500 increments
      $10,000 – $20,000 →$1,000 increments
      $20,000 – $50,000 →$2,500 increments
      $50,000 – $100,000 →$5,000 increments
      $100,000 – $200,000 →$10,000 increments
      $200,000 & up →Auctioneer’s discretion
    10. If I place a bid for a lot with multiple guns, is my bid for each gun or all the guns?
      All the guns! If you win that lot, you win all the items in it for the amount you bid.
    11. A gun I want has other guns with it. Can I just bid on the gun I want?
      No. Items that have been placed in a lot together will be sold together.
    12. What is a “conditional bid”?
      A condition bid is one that we execute based on whether or not previous events have taken place. Because of their complexity, they must be placed by calling the RIAC facility. Here are some examples of common conditional bids.

      • “When I hit $20,000, please cancel my remaining bids.”
      • “I’m bidding on two pistols, so if I win the first one please cancel my bids on the second.”
      • “I’m bidding on two pistols, so if I don’t win the first, please make my bid on the second $______.”
      • “If I don’t win lot X, please increase my bid on lot Y.”

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  • After Auction FAQ
    1. How do I know if I won?
      We send out emails at the end of each auction day to notify absentee bidders if their bids were successful or not. You may also view this information in your Online Account at the end of each auction day.
    2. Do I have to pay taxes on the items I won?
      In most cases no. However, since we are located in Illinois, if the consignor and buyer both reside in-state then we must charge sales tax. We do have a list of lots that are taxable that is available prior to each auction. Please contact us to request information on this list.
    3. Can my item be shipped directly to my house?
      If the item is an antique, yes. For other items, please contact our front office to verify if an item can be shipped to a residence. We comply with all current state and federal firearm laws.
    4. When will my items ship?
      Please bear with us as after an auction there can be over 9,000 firearms to securely pack and ship. Firearms will be shipped in the order their paperwork and payments are completed, and after any applicable waiting periods. You can expedite this process by filling out the sealed bid winner’s form located in your RIAC web account. This form is available the Monday after an auction if you were a successful bidder.
    5. What are the “Prices Realized”?
      Prices realized are the final prices for items that have been sold at auction. This usually includes the price the item hammer for during the auction, plus 15%, a standard buyer’s premium. Prices Realized are often the figures distributed after an auction because they accurately reflect what someone was willing to pay to own the item.
    6. When will the auction’s Prices Realized list be posted?
      Generally by the Wednesday after the auction if not sooner. They can be searched on our Online Catalog or viewed in a PDF document.
    7. How do you ship your items?
      Our current primary shipping provider is FedEx. Return To Top
  • Options for Participating at Rock Island Auction Company

    1. Come to the auction in person.
      Attending the auction is the best way to participate. It’s fun, you get to see all the items, hold them in your hands, and meet other collectors to talk guns! Once you arrive you can register and will receive a bidder card.If you cannot attend the following options are available for you to bid. Generally over 60% of an auction’s items sell using the following bidding options.
    2. Bidding Absentee (Sealed Bid).
      Absentee bidding is extremely popular and it’s very simple to do. The best way to do this is to create a website account. Not only does this make it simple to bid, there are other benefits as well. With a website account you can view all your bids you placed, check the status of those bids, and check your results after each day of the auction. Click here for more details on creating a website account. Once your account is created just search the online catalog. When you find an item you want to place a bid on, click the bid button, and enter your maximum bid amount. As you place bids into your bid cart they are not submitted. You must finalize your bids by clicking the ‘Submit Bids Now’ button. Once you do that you will receive an auto generated email listing all items you bid on and the maximum bid amount you entered. We execute those bids for you by computer against the bidders who attend the auction, or other absentee bidders. We do our best to win the item for you at the lowest possible amount.
    3. Bidding by Telephone.
      Telephone bids can be set up the same way you set up an absentee bid on our website. When you place a bid in our website, change the bid type option from ‘Sealed Bid’ to ‘Telephone Bid’. For a telephone bid you tell us which lots you would like to bid on. You will be called by a representative during the auction and bid live via phone. We do suggest leaving optional “Cover-Me Bids” in case you are not able to be reached by telephone. In order to bid on a lot over the telephone at or near the time it is being sold during the auction you must contact us in advance to make arrangements. Generally if you contact us the day preceding the sale we will have time to process your information. Telephone bids received same day run the risk of not being executed. Contact us to be sure.
    4. Bidding Live on the Internet.
      LIVE bidding using the internet is also an option. RIAC uses the services of other companies that list our auction catalog on their websites. Currently we use the services of Proxibid and Invaluable/AuctionZip. These sites have an additional 3% charge added to the buyer’s premium for using their live services. If you simply want to place absentee bids we recommend you place those bids using the RIAC website to avoid the additional 3% added charge. NOTE: If you experience any problems while using the Proxibid services please call 1-877-505-7770. Non-urgent questions can be emailed to This includes changes or cancellations to your bids. Rock Island Auction Company cannot fix web site problems with any of the live service companies. You must contact them directly.
    5. Creating an Account.  To create an account simply go the Create Account page and fill out the required details. After verifying your email address your account will be created.Return To Top
  • Top Frequently Asked Questions about Bidding

    1. Is it possible to win a lot for less than my absentee amount I bid?
      This happens routinely as we bid for you as if you are actually here. We do our best to get you the lot at the best price possible. For example: Say a lot has a low estimate of $1,000. If you had an absentee bid in of $900, the bidding might start at $500. Let’s say someone on the floor bids up to $700 and stops, if there are no other absentee bids or phone bids for this lot you would win the lot at $750.
    2. What is the buyer’s premium (B.P.)?
      Almost every firearms auction has a buyer’s premium that is charged to winning bidders. A Buyer’s Premium is the amount added to the winning bid amount (hammer price). The B.P. is used by the Auction Company to promote the auction and to help defray the auction expense costs. The B.P. at RIAC is 17.5% if you pay by credit card. It is reduced to 15% if you pay by cash, check or wire transfer. For example, if the Winning Bid Amount is $1,000 and you pay by check, the Buyer’s Premium would be $150 (15% of $1,000). The Total Purchase Price is then calculated as the Winning Bid Amount + the Buyer’s Premium, or $1,000 + $150 = Total Purchase Price of $1,150.
    3. What is a Bid Plus 1 or 2?, What happens if my maximum bid is equal to another bidder’s maximum bid?
      A bid plus is used in case of an absentee bid tie. It raises your bid by one or two bid increments. Say there are two sealed bids in on an item for $1000. If there are no + entered on either bid, the bid with the earliest date submitted would be the winning bid. If one individual had a +1, the item would be hammered to them at $1100, or plus one bid increment. If you would like any additional clarification on the Bid Plus please do not hesitate to contact us.
    4. What amount does the bidding start at?
      Bidding generally starts no less than ½ of the low estimate. If there are a lot of absentee bids placed on an item, the item may start at the low estimate or even above the low estimate. The discretion of the starting bid is determined by the auctioneers.
    5. What are the bid increments?
      All bids must follow the RIAC bid increment table. Click here to view.
    6. I want to absentee bid, but do not want to use the RIAC website or Live bidding companies. What are my options?
      If you prefer to fax in your bids you can download a bid form. A current bid form can be found by clicking the link ‘Bidding Information’ at the top of the catalog search page. Or email us: and we can email you one. Once you complete the form you can fax it or mail it to us at:
      Fax: 309-797-1655
      US Mail:
      Rock Island Auction Company
      7819 42nd Street West, Rock Island, IL 61201
      Need further assistance or have questions about the form? Or if you just want to give your bids over the phone call us at 1-800-238-8022.
    7. I live outside the US. Can I bid?
      Yes. We are excited to have a growing number of bidders in the international community. Please make sure that you contact your local government to discuss regulations regarding firearm ownership and discuss shipping with customs in regards to getting firearms into the country.
    8. If I Bid Absentee how will I know if I win a lot?
      At the conclusion of the auction notifications are sent out via email with preliminary results. You can also view lots won if you have a website account. In the days after the auction each winning bidder will have the invoice calculated including any packing and shipping charges, and Tax if applicable. If we do not contact you via the website email or fax, we will call you on the phone to make arrangements.
    9. I want to bid live using a computer during the auction, what live bidding service should I use?
      Take your pick, as far as costs they are all the same, each adds an additional 3% to the Buyer’s Premium. We use three companies because many of our customers already have accounts with the company or just prefer the bidding interface provided them. Here are links to our page on each site. You will need to create an account with the site you choose to use.
      Proxibid – iCollector – Artfact
    10. Can I cancel an absentee bid? If the item has not come up for auction, and you notify us 30 minutes or more prior to the item being auctioned off, yes you can. Call us at 800-238-8022.
      If you placed an absentee bid on one of the live sites, Proxibid, ICollector or ArtFact, you must contact them as we are not able to access their system. RIAC is not able to cancel absentee bids you place with any other live bidding site.
    11. I bid the amount the lot sold for and did not win!
      Tie Bids– It’s possible that two absentee bidders bid the same amount (and bid higher than any live bidders). In that case we award the lot to the first absentee bid received. This applies to absentee bids placed through our website, mail, and fax. Each bid input into the system is stamped with the date/time received. This is why we encourage absentee bidders to give us your bids as soon as possible, as this scenario is very common.
      The fall of the bid increment – Since we treat absentee bids as if the bidder is here live at the auction, trying to buy as cheaply as possible under the maximum amount the bidder specifies, there’s always a possibility another bidder will beat them to that amount. Here’s an example of how that might happen: An absentee bid is placed on a lot for $1000. Live bidders and other absentee bids at the auction bid the lot up to $900. At that point, we advance the bid on the sealed bidder’s behalf to $950. If there is no raise, the sealed bidder wins the lot for $950. However, the auctioneer asks for $1000 and if a competing live bidder bids $1000, we of course will take the bid. Looking at the sealed bid in this case, the sealed bidder told us not to spend more than $1000. We are not authorized to go to $1100 for the absentee bidder, so the live bidder is the successful buyer at the $1000 bid point even though it is exactly the same as the sealed bidder. As you can see, this is entirely unpredictable and depends on how the live bids fall at the auction. In the example above, if live bidding had stopped at $900, we would have advanced the absentee bid to $950, with no other live bidders our absentee bidder would have prevailed. It is exactly what would happen if there were two live bidders in the audience who both planned to stop at $1000. One would get it, and the other would not. Preventing this from happening to you is simple. Since we buy for you as cheaply as possible at or below the maximum you specify, simply be sure you bid the true maximum you would go to if you were bidding live. Ask yourself, “If I was there, and the bid stopped to someone else at $1000, would I go $1100?” If so, bid a plus one or that extra amount. You still may fall on the bad side of the increment, but the exact same thing might happen if you were there bidding live. That’s the nature of an honest auction.
    12. I have a gun I would like to sell?
      The Firearm market is hotter than ever. Guns of all makes and models, antique, C&R, and modern, are selling for record prices! Take advantage of the #1 Firearms Auction in the World and let us go to work for you. We advertise internationally, produce the finest catalog in the industry, and follow it with what is unequivocally the strongest and most comprehensive marketing campaign in the business. Submit a request through our website or contact us at There is no obligation.
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  • Frequently Asked Questions on Purchasing Auction Items
    1. Do I pay taxes on the lot?
      In most cases no. However if the item is being consigned in-state by an Illinois reseller and being sold in-state (i.e. to a live bidder, or being shipped to an in-state address) then taxes do apply. All other cases there is no sales tax. The week of the auction we have a list of the lots that are taxable, just contact us for the list.
    2. Can I purchase firearms at auction and have them shipped to my home?
      If you bid on items that are antique, we can release the firearms to you or ship directly to you. If you are bidding on an item that is manufactured after 1898 and do not hold an FFL, we would have you fill out the standard ATF form 4473 if you live within Illinois. If you live within a contiguous state of Illinois, (i.e. Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, or Wisconsin) and are purchasing a long gun, we would also have you fill out the “yellow form” and wait the required period. Handguns must be shipped to an FFL dealer for these states, and we can help you find one if you do not use one currently. If you live outside this area, or do not fill out the ATF form 4473, we will ship to an FFL licensed dealer of your choice and they will transfer the gun to you. Be sure to check your state requirements on firearm ownership before placing a bid. If you have any questions about the ATF form 4473 or regulations on transferring firearms please contact us. While searching our website catalog, please note that above the description there is a field labeled ‘Class’ that will tell you if the firearm is antique, modern, or curio and relic.
    3. I see more than one gun in this lot. Is the amount I bid for each gun or all guns in the lot?
      No matter how many items are in the lot your bid amount is for everything in the lot. For example; if a lot has 5 rifles in it, and your bid amount was $1,000 and you won; you get all 5 rifles for the amount you bid plus the buyer’s premium. We often are asked this question on multi lots too. Do you sell each of the guns individually? No. We sell the items in the lot as a lot. The estimated value on the lot is for all the items within that lot.
    4. The items I won during the auction all sold for maximum amount of money I was willing to bid?
      At RIAC we try our best to win the lot for each customer for the lowest price possible. Remember that many times customers are trying to bid as little as possible to win an item. For example if you bid on 10 lots in the auction, you won 2 of the 10 at your maximum bid amount. This also means you lost 8 items as your bid amount was too low. There are thousands of bidders in each auction. You are bidding against others that also know the value and want to win for as little as possible. If you placed low bids on 100 lots and won a single lot for your maximum price, that is a success!
    5. When will you ship my items?
      Please bear with us as we have as many as 5,000 firearms to pack and ship after an auction. You can help expedite your invoice if you fill out the sealed bid winner’s form in your web account tools. This is available after each auction if you were a successful bidder.
    6. When will the prices realized at auction be posted?
      Typically we post the prices on our website within 2-4 days after the auction is over. If you purchased a premiere catalog you will also receive via mail a copy after premiere auctions only.
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  • Tips for Absentee Bidding with Rock Island Auction
    1. Bid early!
      Eeach and every auction we get thousands of absentee bids. With all the bids we receive there are always many tie absentee bid amounts on the same item. To break the tie between other absentee bidders, we take the bid that was received first.
    2. Bid your maximum amount!
      Your bids are executed against the live crowd and other absentee bidders. We do not start the bidding off at your maximum bid amount! We try and win items for absentee bidders as cheaply as possible.
    3. Use the bid increment table to your advantage.
      For example: You place a bid for an item with a maximum amount of $1,900. Consider raising that bid to $2,000. By doing that you will force another bidder to jump to the next level in the bid increments. In this case if you bid $1,900, another bidder would only have to go to $2,000 to beat your bid. If you bid $2,000 the next bid increment is $2,250. This forces the other bidders to bid $250 over your bid instead of $100.
    4. Find the related items in the auction.
      Our auctions many times can have multiple items of the same type, but are in the auction different days. If you know where the items are at in each day of the auction, not winning on day 1 gives you the chance to bid on a similar item on day 2 or day 3. Check your account each night, or the morning before the next auction starts. If you bid on the website we post results of your bids in your ‘Current Bids’. If you did not win anything on Friday, check the remaining two days of the auction and bid again.
    5. Conditional bidding.
      With so many great items in our auctions we can assist you with conditional bids. For example, some customers have a maximum they can spend at the auction, say that maximum is $10,000. If that amount is reached at any point in the auction we cancel your remaining bids. Another scenario would be: If I win lot number xxx cancel my bid on lot yyy (assuming that lot has not come up for auction). You Must Call 800-238-8022 and we can work with you for reasonable conditions.
    6. If you are only going to bid absentee, then by all means place your bids on the RIAC website.
      Absentee bids are also accepted on the live bidding sites we list our auctions with Proxibid, ICollector and ArtFact/AuctionZip. These sites all take absentee bids, however you are also charged an additional 3% that is added to the buyer’s premium for using their service. You can place the same bids on our site without the additional 3%. If you would like to bid LIVE on your computer during the auction by all means use one of these services.
    7. Bid Estimates:
      Every auction lot has a low and high estimated value. This does not mean the item must sell in that estimate range. You can bid above or below the estimates. The price estimates are based on our specialists research of current market selling prices of similar items, and other factors depending on the item. Most items sell in or near these estimate ranges.
    8. Live Bidding:
      There are two ways to bid live without attending the auction in person. The first is by telephone. You can use our website to find the items you want to bid on just as you would an absentee bid. When adding the item to your bid cart change the option under “Bid Type” from Sealed Bid to Telephone Bid. When you submit your bids you will enter in a phone number we can reach you with on each day of the auction. One of our telephone bidding representatives will call you a few minutes (8 – 10 lots) prior to the item coming up for auction.The other way to live bid is to use one of the companies RIAC lists its catalog with. Proxibid, ICollector and AuctionZip/ArtFact. You will need to create an account with one of these companies prior to the start of the auction. There is also an additional 3% live bidding fee added to the buyer’s premium for using this service. Note to users of one of the Live bidding services: the auction moves very fast, most lots are only up for auction for about 30 seconds. Be prepared to bid your maximum amount. If there is any delay in getting the bid the auctioneers will sell the lot and move on.
    9. Bidder Tip:
      Sign up for Outbid Notifications. You can do this by logging into your website account. In your main account page click Outbid Notifications under Email Options.
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