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April 2, 2015

Auction Bidder Notifications

By Guest

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Since 2015, Rock Island Auction Company has offered our helpful Bidder Notifications service to customers. This service is only performed by the largest auction houses to ensure that valued customers do not lose out on the items they desire. With tens of thousands of sealed bids being placed on lots in every one of our auctions, this is a highly valuable tool to ensure you don’t get outbid on the lot you want. We receive thousands of tie bids for many items each auction, with some having dozens of different bidders at the same increment. As an auction house, it’s tough to witness so many ties knowing that people are making an earnest run at collectibles they will not win.

Tie Bids

It is a very common scenario for people who tie the winning bid, or come within 90% of it, to not win an item. Obviously, that can be pretty confusing to know you bid the correct amount, but did not win your lot. The outbid notifications try to limit this type of scenario, even though it is impossible to eliminate completely. It’s very possible that two or more absentee bidders bid the same amount (and bid higher than any live bidders). In that case, RIAC awards the lot to the first of the tie bids placed. Each bid input into our systems is stamped with date/time it was received. This is why we encourage absentee bidders to give us your bids as soon as possible, since this scenario is very common.

Bid Increments

We treat absentee bids as if the bidder is here live at the auction, trying to buy as cheaply as possible under their maximum amount they have specified in their bid. With that comes the chance that another bidder will beat them to that amount. Here’s an example of how that might happen.

Let’s say that Dan places an absentee bid on a lot for $1,000. Live bidders and other absentee bidders have bid the lot up to $900. At that point, we would advance Dan’s bid on his behalf to $950. If there are no other bids, Dan would win that lot for $950. However, if a competing live bidder bids $1,000, we are obliged to accept that bid. Since Dan has only authorized us to bid up to $1,000, we cannot place another bid for him and the lot would be won by the live bidder even though Dan had the exact same amount in his sealed bid.

As you can see, this is entirely unpredictable and depends on how the live bids fall during the auction. In the example above, had the live bidding stopped at $900, we would have advanced Dan’s bid to $950. With no other live bidders he would have prevailed. Take note, this is exactly what would happen if there were two live bidders in the audience who both planned to stop at $1,000. 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, 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 with someone else winning for $1,000, would I go $1,100?” If so, bid a “plus one” or enter the larger amount. You still may fall on the “bad side” of the increment, but the exact same thing might happen if you were bidding live. That’s the nature of an honest auction.

We realize you may have questions or want to provide feedback on this process. For some Frequently Asked Questions that we feel tend to arise, please continue reading to see if we have covered your question. If not, please feel free to contact us via email at [email protected] or call 1-800-238-8022, respectively.

Of course, if you’re not interested in receiving these outbid notifications, no action is necessary on your part. By doing nothing, your account not get notifications. You must opt-in to receive these notices and you can switch at any time simply by logging into your account.


Q: Do I have to receive outbid notifications?
A: No. The service is completely optional and you must opt-in to receive them. If you do not want to receive them, do nothing. If you do elect to receive them, you may turn them off again at any time.

Q: How can I receive outbid notifications?

A:  It’s a simple email preference that you can change in your account at any time. Follow these steps.

  1. Go to
  2. Log in to your account.
  3. In the “Email Notification Options” section on the right, click the box next to any email alerts you wish to receive
  4. Changes are saved automatically. No further action is needed.
  5. Go bid!

Q: Will I receive a notice if I am a tied for the high bid?

A: Yes. Remember, in the event of tied sealed bids, the winning bid will be the first of the bids received.  The notification will not tell you if you are the first bid received, only that you are tied for the high bid.

Q: How common is this really?

A: Very. In our various auctions, we receive tens of thousands of sealed bids! With so much interest comes an astounding number of tie bids, and bids within one bid increment (or 90%) of the highest bidder. Tie bids are exceedingly commonplace.

If you’d like to leave feedback, please feel free to write to us at [email protected].

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AvatarBobheaJune 01, 2022

Thanks for information

AvatarR&bAugust 05, 2022

Rock Island auction is truly a quality auction house I've been dealing with them for years and they really bringing the auction out to the public the way you can see it live on the internet and bid keep it up Richard

AvatarRichard GibsonAugust 19, 2022

Thanks for your updates!

AvatarTide1September 12, 2022

Thanks for the professionalism!

AvatarPaulOctober 18, 2023

hope I win my bid

AvatarJimmy MarksNovember 29, 2023


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