Mystery auction is a type of auction where bidders bid for boxes or envelopes containing unspecified or underspecified items, usually on the hope that the items will be humorous, interesting, or valuable.[33][34] In the early days of eBay's popularity, sellers began promoting boxes or packages of random and usually low-value items not worth selling by themselves.[35]

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.


Mystery auction is a type of auction where bidders bid for boxes or envelopes containing unspecified or underspecified items, usually on the hope that the items will be humorous, interesting, or valuable.[33][34] In the early days of eBay's popularity, sellers began promoting boxes or packages of random and usually low-value items not worth selling by themselves.[35]

Real property - Primarily, this consists of developed land with buildings, usually acquired by the federal government for a specific purpose, such as a military base or office building. This also includes some U.S. Forest Service properties, which usually consist of administrative sites and facilities. The General Services Administration (GSA) is the federal agency responsible for selling developed surplus property.  
Senior auction is a variation on the all-pay auction, and has a defined loser in addition to the winner. The top two bidders must pay their full final bid amounts, and only the highest wins the auction. The intent is to make the high bidders bid above their upper limits. In the final rounds of bidding, when the current losing party has hit their maximum bid, they are encouraged to bid over their maximum (seen as a small loss) to avoid losing their maximum bid with no return (a very large loss).

Age and nationality requirements. A bidding individual must be at least 18 years old to participate in government car sales. Unlike private auctions, which sometimes require a license to bid, a government car auction is generally open to the public. No special license is needed. However, in order to transact business with the federal government, a social security number or tax identification number is needed. If purchasing the vehicle for a company, then a Power of Attorney certificate is required 

Once a car has served its time, it’s stripped of all its Police markings, siren, radio, gun box and serviced, before going under the hammer. These vehicles may have done more miles than your average family runabout but, Police Cars are kept in tip-top condition. No expense is spared in keeping these motors immaculate and they receive the best parts, tyres, even oil.
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.
×