Reserve auction is an auction where the item for sale may not be sold if the final bid is not high enough to satisfy the seller; that is, the seller reserves the right to accept or reject the highest bid.[37] In these cases a set 'reserve' price known to the auctioneer, but not necessarily to the bidders, may have been set, below which the item may not be sold.[36] If the seller announces to the bidders the reserve price, it is a public reserve price auction.[39] In contrast, if the seller does not announce the reserve price before the sale but only after the sale, it is a secret reserve price auction.[40] The reserve price may be fixed or discretionary. In the latter case, the decision to accept a bid is deferred to the auctioneer, who may accept a bid that is marginally below it. A reserve auction is safer for the seller than a no-reserve auction as they are not required to accept a low bid, but this could result in a lower final price if less interest is generated in the sale.[37]
This is the practice, especially by high-end art auctioneers,[64] of raising false bids at crucial times in the bidding in order to create the appearance of greater demand or to extend bidding momentum for a work on offer. To call out these nonexistent bids auctioneers might fix their gaze at a point in the auction room that is difficult for the audience to pin down.[65] The practice is frowned upon in the industry.[65] In the United States, chandelier bidding is not illegal. In fact, an auctioneer may bid up the price of an item to the reserve price, which is an unstated amount the consignor will not sell the item for. However, the auction house is required to disclose this information.
It is important to have realistic expectations when attending a government car auction. While you can find some good bargains, you are not going to find a brand new BMW for $100.00. Government auctions sell both fleet cars and vehicles that have been impounded by government agencies. The conditions of these vehicles can range from great to not running. Set your expectations and budget realistically.