These programs are meant to benefit taxpayers as a whole, but could they benefit you, the individual taxpayer? Can you bag a bargain at a government auction? "GSA's goal is to maximize return to the federal government," the GSA spokesperson said. So they're not giving this stuff away. In fact, the government sets "reserves" or minimums for the most valuable property it auctions off. But judging from a wide tour of current government auctions and bids, there are still opportunities to walk away with valuable goods for a great price. Here's a look at who's selling what, where, and for how much.
Treasury Bills Auctions are typically held every Tuesday and successful bids are settled on the following Thursday on a T+2 settlement cycle. When the auction date, or the settlement date, or any day in between the auction date and the settlement date falls on a non-business day, the auction takes place on the first business day of the same week and settled on a T+2 basis.

Silent auction is a variant of the English auction in which bids are written on a sheet of paper. At the predetermined end of the auction, the highest listed bidder wins the item.[43] This auction is often used in charity events, with many items auctioned simultaneously and "closed" at a common finish time.[43][44] The auction is "silent" in that there is no auctioneer selling individual items,[43] the bidders writing their bids on a bidding sheet often left on a table near the item.[45] At charity auctions, bid sheets usually have a fixed starting amount, predetermined bid increments, and a "guaranteed bid" amount which works the same as a "buy now" amount. Other variations of this type of auction may include sealed bids.[43] The highest bidder pays the price he or she submitted.[43]
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Silent auction is a variant of the English auction in which bids are written on a sheet of paper. At the predetermined end of the auction, the highest listed bidder wins the item.[43] This auction is often used in charity events, with many items auctioned simultaneously and "closed" at a common finish time.[43][44] The auction is "silent" in that there is no auctioneer selling individual items,[43] the bidders writing their bids on a bidding sheet often left on a table near the item.[45] At charity auctions, bid sheets usually have a fixed starting amount, predetermined bid increments, and a "guaranteed bid" amount which works the same as a "buy now" amount. Other variations of this type of auction may include sealed bids.[43] The highest bidder pays the price he or she submitted.[43]
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Heard the promises of $100 retired military Jeeps and $500 luxury cars confiscated in drug raids? You've likely seen the newspaper ads, flyers and infomercials that were so popular in recent years as part of get-rich-quick schemes, promising to show us how to buy luxury automobiles at a small fraction of their real worth through government auctions.
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]

The 18 City of Los Angeles Official Police Garages (OPGs) hold Lien Sales Auctions. The auctions are open to the public. All vehicles are sold "AS IS, WHERE IS" and with all faults. Seller makes no warranty or refunds. Vehicles are sold in an open competitive bid auction. The highest bidder is the buyer. The auctioneer reserves the right to reject any bid or stop the sale of a vehicle. In the event of a dispute, the auctioneer's decision will be final.  

A primary dealer is a firm that buys government securities directly from a government, with the intention of reselling them to others, thus acting as a market maker of government securities. The government may regulate the behavior and number of its primary dealers and impose conditions of entry. Some governments sell their securities only to primary dealers; some sell them to others as well. Governments that use primary dealers include Belgium, Brazil,[1] Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
A ring can also be used to increase the price of an auction lot, in which the owner of the object being auctioned may increase competition by taking part in the bidding him or herself, but drop out of the bidding just before the final bid. In Britain and many other countries, rings and other forms of bidding on one's own object are illegal. This form of a ring was used as a central plot device in an episode of the British television series Lovejoy (series 4, episode 3), in which the price of a watercolour by the (fictional) Jessie Webb is inflated so that others by the same artist could be sold for more than their purchase price.
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]

At the close of an auction, Treasury awards all noncompetitive bids that comply with the auction rules and then accepts competitive bids in ascending order of their rate, yield, or discount margin (lowest to highest) until the quantity of awarded bids reaches the offering amount. All bidders will receive the same rate, yield, or discount margin at the highest accepted bid.


The Romans also used auctions to liquidate the assets of debtors whose property had been confiscated.[8] For example, Marcus Aurelius sold household furniture to pay off debts, the sales lasting for months.[9] One of the most significant historical auctions occurred in the year 193 A.D. when the entire Roman Empire was put on the auction block by the Praetorian Guard. On 28 March 193, the Praetorian Guard first killed emperor Pertinax, then offered the empire to the highest bidder. Didius Julianus outbid everyone else for the price of 6,250 drachmas per guard,[citation needed] an act that initiated a brief civil war. Didius was then beheaded two months later when Septimius Severus conquered Rome.[8]
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] 

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.
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