Participants in any Treasury auction consist of small investors and institutional investors who submit bids categorized as either competitive or non-competitive tenders. Non-competitive tenders are submitted by smaller investors who are guaranteed to receive bills, but they won’t know what discount rate they will receive until the auction closes. In effect, these investors receive no guarantee on the price or discount received. An investor who submits a non-competitive bid agrees to accept whatever discount rate is decided at the auction, determined by the competitive side of the auction which is handled as a Dutch auction. The minimum non-competitive tender for a Treasury bill is $10,000. The non-competitive closing time for bills is normally 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time on auction day.
Several different federal agencies hold government auctions. The General Services Administration is the granddaddy of them all, because it sells on behalf of other departments. When a federal agency no longer needs something — say, a pickup truck — it reports the truck to GSA, which first offers it to other federal agencies and then to state and local governments or nonprofits. If nobody claims the truck, then the GSA auctions it off to the public, and you get your chance at it.
The District of Columbia now auctions its surplus property online through GovDeals, a Liquidity Services, Inc. marketplace. The district awarded the contract for the management of the inventory, appraisal, sale and shipping of the city's surplus property to Liquidity Services Inc. LSI conducts auctions of city assets such as vehicles, police automobile accessories, computer equipment, radios and other communications equipment, office furniture and other supplies through its online marketplace. The auctions are expected to improve data tracking and financial oversight of the city's surplus asset disposition activities.