by Eduardo Chavez
How many times have you seen a high-class auction played out on television or a big theater screen where the buyer is willing to pay a fortune for an item that he has just "gotta have"? Welcome to the real world-- a place where most of us can't, or are unwilling, to purchase a piece at auction at any cost.
Guadalajara auctioneer Eduardo "The Magician" Chavez offers some sound tips on buying right at auction, even if you "gotta have it".
1. DON'T MISS THOSE AUCTION PREVIEWS
Get as much information as possible on the pieces you're interested in before the auction begins. This includes artist's name and background, the age of the piece, its condition and the item's value outside of the auction house. Most auction houses do not accept returns, so make sure you know what you are buying.
2. DON'T FALL IN LOVE WITH IT
Very few pieces are one-of-a-kind. Besides original piece of art, most items up for auction can be found elsewhere, so don't over-pay. The chances that you'll come across a similar item are good. It is advisable to pay more for one outstanding piece than to acquire several mediocre items for a low price.
3. DECIDE WHAT YOUR TOP PRICE IS
Before the auction begins, jot down in the auction catalog, next to the lot number, the highest bid you are willing to offer for the items which interest you. Don't surpass that figure!
4. WHERE TO SIT?
While many people believe that the front rows are the prime location in an auction, this is not always the case. It is important to be able to see your potential competitors and identify them as either dealers or collectors. Collectors are usually willing to pay more than someone who is buying a piece for resale.
5. KEEP A CLEAR HEAD
When a piece doesn't command a lot of attention it is usually advisable to hold back bidding until the last second. If the piece hasn't exceeded your predetermined high bid, make your offer just before bidding closes.
However, it is a piece which is causing a good amount of excitement, your best chances of walking away with it are by making a high enough offer to stop your competitors in their tracks. Again, stick with your predetermined highest offer.
6. A TIP FOR VISITORS TO MEXICAN AUCTIONS
Unlike U.S. style auctions, most Mexican auction houses offer free cocktails to their guests, and the drinks are not watered down! Be cautious about drinking too much, you may end up going home with pieces you never intended to purchase or pay so much for.
Good luck, and enjoy!