Whether we have actually been to one or not, most of us are familiar with the concept of an auction. The auctioneer leads the selling process, gavel in hand, whilst each potential buyer bids with the most furtive of gestures – a tactful nod of the head or a singular finger raised without ceremony in a manner to which all but those taking a close active interest would remain oblivious.
As if almost by telepathy, but in truth from years of experience, the auctioneer knows where to look. Usually, as the big finale approaches only a few, perhaps only two, remain in the race. You can also opt for online art auction in Canberra.
A dealer or a collector, a connoisseur of works of art or maybe even just a private individual to whom thought of buying that particular item appeals, will go to the personal limit that they have set and then bow out gracefully, leaving the last and bravest participant alone in the field when the gavel falls and the deal is struck.
The formal business is done away from the big show itself. The buyer is happy with his or her acquisition and the seller receives payment, minus, of course, the commission paid to the auction itself.
What this commission will amount to varies according to where one happens to be. The big auctioneers, such as Sotheby's and Christie's, do receive a substantial share in return for the prestige they offer in bringing your artworks or artifacts before an exclusive and well-heeled audience.
Of course today, like so many other things, much of the process of auctioning goods can be reproduced online. The most obvious example is eBay where one can place the goods we wish to sell before a potential audience of millions and release them to the highest bidder following an agreed period of time in which bids may be submitted. A minimum price is set above which the highest bidder will collect.