An auction is a process of buying and selling goods or services by offering them up for bid, taking bids, and then selling the item to the highest bidder. The open ascending price auction is arguably the most common form of auction in use today. Participants bid openly against one another, with each subsequent bid required to be higher than the previous bid. An auctioneer may announce prices, bidders may call out their bids themselves (or have a proxy call out a bid on their behalf), or bids may be submitted electronically with the highest current bid publicly displayed. In a Dutch auction, the auctioneer begins with a high asking price for some quantity of like items; the price is lowered until a participant is willing to accept the auctioneer's price for some quantity of the goods in the lot or until the seller's reserve price is met. While auctions are most associated in the public imagination with the sale of antiques, paintings, rare collectibles and expensive wines, auctions are also used for commodities, livestock, radio spectrum and used cars. In economic theory, an auction may refer to any mechanism or set of trading rules for exchange.
Another approach to choosing an SOB: The auctioneer may achieve good success by asking the expected final sales price for the item, as this method suggests to the potential buyers the item's particular value. For instance, say an auctioneer is about to sell a $1,000 car at a sale. Instead of asking $100, hoping to entice wide interest (for who wouldn't want a $1,000 car for $100?), the auctioneer may suggest an opening bid of $1,000; although the first bidder may begin bidding at a mere $100, the final bid may more likely approach $1,000.
Buying the confiscated goods either from the TSA or individual states is done in auctions 90% of the time. Some confiscated items are put up directly for sale though, and you can find it on the websites for direct purchase. The state surplus auctions are held regularly, and if you're planning to show up for it, it's definitely best to check if you have to register beforehand. Several states require this.
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.
The bidding started out fairly tame. Individuals there bought a beat up Impala for $525, a Chevy Astro van for $425, and the shittiest Chrysler PT Cruiser I have ever seen for $300. As for the awesome Ford Escort wagon? Well, it didn’t do so hot, in part, Kevin told me, because it’s so light and has low scrap value, and because parts are in low demand:
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.