Online bidding is an exciting process which often leads to the purchase of valuable items. Ephemera auctions are happening constantly and with a couple of tips, you’ll be well on your way to winning your first one! Be sure to read to the end so you know just how online auctions work and how to bid.

Online Auctions

Sometimes it’s not always feasible to meet up in person when buying vintage ephemera. Though this is often the most reliable way to know if you are getting a good price on an item, there are other ways to purchase items. Online auctions are a way for people to sell or bid for items all through the Internet! No need to drive cross-country just to get some awesome ephemera.

Online auctions are done through a number of different sites. Some of the most popular ones, and therefore most viable, include eBay, R & R Auction, Invaluable, Live Auctioneers, Online Auction and more.

Usually, the bidding starts low but steadily increases within the bid window of time. Sellers determine the time frame they’d like to give for each bid. Once the time is up, the sellers choose the highest bid and reach out to the buyer to confirm their purchase.

How to Bid

  1. First of all, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the bidding website. Make sure you read through the terms and conditions of the bidding process.
  2. Read through the type of payment you’ll be making. Some sites only allow certain credit or debit cards, so it’s important you understand how you’ll be paying if you when the bid.
  3. Before beginning a bid, make sure you thoroughly read through the product description, analyze the product pictures, or ask for more information from the seller. You want to be sure you know exactly what you are buying. To read more about this specific process, check out A Guide to Buying Expensive Ephemera.
  4. Next, you’ll want to make sure that the starting amount on the item is reasonable. You can determine fair market values by comparing similar products and what they sold more. This is also helpful for the next step.
  5. Decide how much you are willing to spend on an item. Online bidding can be really exciting. The bid amount can change every second, keeping you hooked on the site. However, it’s easy to get too wrapped up in the process and end up spending more than you’d like. Decide how much is enough, and stick to your limit. You’ll be much more relieved when you don’t end up spending too much on an item.
  6. Determine if you’d like to do automatic bidding or be present for the process. A lot of sites allow you to set your maximum spending limit on an item. The site will then make sure that you continue to be the highest bid until your limit is reached or passed. Once you hit the limit, you’ll be out of the running. You can, however, choose to sit through a live bidding process and input your own bids. In this process, the seller determines the end of the bidding. It is not determined by a specific time limit, just by when the seller chooses to end the bid. Decide what you feel most comfortable doing.
  7. When you set a maximum amount, it’s important to beware of round numbers. For example, instead of setting your maximum amount to $102, try to set it at something like $102.54. In this way, you’ll be one up someone else who bids a similar amount. This can be a little tricky when other people are doing the same thing, but it also makes the process that much more exciting!
  8. Once the bidding begins, make sure you stay up to date on the process. Some bids run for weeks, days, hours, or even minutes. Make sure you know just how long your bid runs for, and when or if you should expect an email from the seller. Sometimes extended auctions ensue if the seller feels like the price could still go up or if a buyer makes a bid in the last minute. This is a technique that many choose to do, just to increase their chances of winning. If you choose to watch any of the bidding process, be sure to watch the last minute!
  9. Check for a notification email from the seller. If you end up winning a bid, make sure you keep in touch with the seller to receive your items.
  10. Discover your bidding style. How you go about bidding is totally up to you. You may start out by bidding low, bidding high, just waiting to see what others do. It’s helpful to practice on a couple of cheaper items to determine what you like best. Good luck and have fun!

Ephemera bidding can be an exhilarating process. The best part is being able to bring home a specific item to add to your collection. Hopefully, these tips will help you feel confident in your next online auction. Good luck and comment below if you have any other tips!