The word "auction" is derived from the Latin augeō, which means "I increase" or "I augment".[1] For most of history, auctions have been a relatively uncommon way to negotiate the exchange of goods and commodities. In practice, both haggling and sale by set-price have been significantly more common.[5] Indeed, before the seventeenth century the few auctions that were held were sporadic.[6]
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.
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Auction includes over 1,000 items from State and Federal agencies, abandoned safe deposit boxes, unredeemed pledged assets from various Financial Institutions, several business inventory liquidations, several estates and other consignors. Auction will feature collectible coins & currency, rare art, fine jewelry, luxury watches, sports memorabilia, rugs, electronics, all types of collectibles & much more! 
To bid, you'll mostly need to go to an auction house on the day and bid in person. However, some auction houses now offer live internet or telephone bidding. You'll have to register to bid with the auction house, whether you're bidding in person or not. You should be able to find out when the next police auction will be held by visiting the auction house's website.

I wasn't aware that the TSA sold all of the stuff it confiscated! That's cheap goods right there! My mom works for a cruise line, and they don't confiscate stuff, but people do tend to forget all kinds of things they bring on the ship, so every once in a while the company has a big flea market available to employees. I find it funny when my mom comes home with watches and bracelets she wouldn't have otherwise bought.
Buyout auction is an auction with an additional set price (the 'buyout' price) that any bidder can accept at any time during the auction, thereby immediately ending the auction and winning the item.[29] If no bidder chooses to utilize the buyout option before the end of bidding the highest bidder wins and pays their bid.[29] Buyout options can be either temporary or permanent.[29] In a temporary-buyout auction the option to buy out the auction is not available after the first bid is placed.[29] In a permanent-buyout auction the buyout option remains available throughout the entire auction until the close of bidding.[29] The buyout price can either remain the same throughout the entire auction, or vary throughout according to rules or simply as decided by the seller.[29]

Buyout auction is an auction with an additional set price (the 'buyout' price) that any bidder can accept at any time during the auction, thereby immediately ending the auction and winning the item.[29] If no bidder chooses to utilize the buyout option before the end of bidding the highest bidder wins and pays their bid.[29] Buyout options can be either temporary or permanent.[29] In a temporary-buyout auction the option to buy out the auction is not available after the first bid is placed.[29] In a permanent-buyout auction the buyout option remains available throughout the entire auction until the close of bidding.[29] The buyout price can either remain the same throughout the entire auction, or vary throughout according to rules or simply as decided by the seller.[29]
The first known auction house in the world was Stockholm Auction House, Sweden (Stockholms Auktionsverk), founded by Baron Claes Rålamb in 1674.[12][13] Sotheby's, currently the world's second-largest auction house,[12] was founded in London on 11 March 1744, when Samuel Baker presided over the disposal of "several hundred scarce and valuable" books from the library of an acquaintance. Christie's, now the world's largest auction house,[12] was founded by James Christie in 1766 in London[14] and published its first auction catalog in that year, although newspaper advertisements of Christie's sales dating from 1759 have been found.[15]
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.
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