January 02, 2011

The Beauty of AuctionZip

Are you guys familiar with the site AuctionZip? If not, I definitely suggest using it. It allows you to find multiple local - or not-so-local - auctions, and most auctions include photos of all of the items that will be up for sale. 

Here are my tips to get the most out of this site:
  1. If you just want to search for auctions in your local area, fill in your zip code, the distance you want to search from that zip code, and select the category "Antiques-Household-Collectibles." That is, don't bother filling in a keyword, even if you're looking for something specific. The reason for this is because most auctioneers just put up photos of their items, and don't add any keywords or descriptions. So putting in a keyword won't usually show what's actually available at these auctions. Instead, just browse all of the photos for the auctions that interest you after you've clicked "Search."
  2. AuctionZip allows you to search in separate AuctionLive and Absentee Bidding categories (so that you can bid on something far away or if you can't make it in person to a local auction). But these categories are very limited - that is, they don't show all of the auctions where absentee bidding is an option. In reality, most auctioneers offer some form of absentee bidding - and many are even happy to ship the item nationwide - so you can always just search for an item the usual way on AuctionZip (see point 1), and if you see something you like, just email or call the auctioneer to find out what their absentee bidding options are. They'll also be happy to check the measurements on a piece or give you more specifics about its condition. 
  3. Don't expect to get furniture for $40, but usually you will get an amazing deal (I've seen plenty of cool furniture sell in the $100-250 range). (Location may make a difference here, because I think things tend to sell for much less if you're not at an auction in a large city with lots of competitors.) 
  4. Missed bidding on an amazing find at a recent auction?  Since AuctionZip lets you see recently-held auctions, if you find something you love just call the auctioneer - the item might not have sold so it still could be available for purchase.

Here's just a small sample of furniture available at one of my local auctions today:

 Sources/Links: All images from here