Whenever bidders at an auction are aware of the identity of the other bidders there is a risk that they will form a "ring" or "pool" and thus manipulate the auction result, a practice known as collusion. By agreeing to bid only against outsiders, never against members of the "ring", competition becomes weaker, which may dramatically affect the final price level. After the end of the official auction an unofficial auction may take place among the "ring" members. The difference in price between the two auctions could then be split among the members. This form of a ring was used as a central plot device in the opening episode of the 1979 British television series The House of Caradus, 'For Love or Money', uncovered by Helena Caradus on her return from Paris.
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.