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Is There Such A Thing As An Auction Hog?

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Valued Member
Canada
40 Posts
Posted 08/30/2020   1:55 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add Casey Magoo to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I follow a certain type of auction and don't want to share too much info for competitive reasons. I'm sure every bidder understands that. I am currently witnessing something that is blowing my mind. Auction 'X' is open but not closing for a while as usual. All of a sudden the top 150 or 200 lots are ALL being led by a pair of bidders. A stamp that was going for $10 is now going for $400 overnight. Huge jumps, not small ones and they are a team for sure. Why they are bidding in the $10000s is beyond me. They are destroying a poor fool like me but will they really pay up? Maybe I've got a lot to learn about US auctions. Anyway, these guys are trying to hog anything with some catalogue value for some insane reason.

I'm hoping it isn't a couple of fraudsters with stolen credit cards, but they are causing a bit of mayhem in my eyes.
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Edited by Casey Magoo - 08/30/2020 2:13 pm

Pillar Of The Community
United States
1682 Posts
Posted 08/30/2020   2:29 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add shermae to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
With the info provided it's almost impossible to know. Sharing the info would help some of us analyze what's going on and not hurt your prospects given that you believe you are not competitive with the 2 mentioned bidders.
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United States
67 Posts
Posted 08/30/2020   2:43 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jamesg to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Well, even auctions on eBay are seeing strange action now in my opinion (not mine of course, as whenever I auction anything I get squat), but auctions I've been bidding on are going for 3 or 4 times what I would normally expect to pay - really weird. Been going on for a few months now.
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Valued Member
United Kingdom
342 Posts
Posted 08/30/2020   3:38 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add steevh to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Two theories:

1. prices in general have zoomed since the virus struck.

2. shill bidding

Without any details, who can know?
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Valued Member
United States
458 Posts
Posted 08/30/2020   4:10 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mootermutt987 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
30-ish years ago, I worked for a few nationally known East Coast auction houses. We sent our catalogs out 5-6 weeks before the auction, and our work changed during those pre-auction weeks. We spent a lot of time on the phone answering bidders' questions about various lots and photo-ing and FAXing. We also mailed lots to clients with which we had good relationships - Overnight there, one day to view, and Overnight back. Auction bidding included on-site bidding, FAX, agent, and phone. Pre-e-mail. We could seat, perhaps, 50 bidders, and the rooms were often near-full. Front row bidders tended to be dealers and agents (although some preferred to be elsewhere). In the end, about half the lots sold to just a few of the dealers. Sometimes more than half, sometimes less. They were 'in' on any lot. there were probably only a few lots that they were targeting, for a specific client, but if another lot was selling for not much, they would bid. They probably had bids prepped for 80% of the lots. They probably had mega-strong bids on 5% of the lots. If they could make money on any one of the 80%, they would bid. My point is: it was hard to get a 'deal' - there were multiple bidders on 80% of the lots, if they were selling for low enough.

There was a well publicized scandal that happened at about that time - many of these dealers were caught in a bidding-block scheme. Essentially, they all viewed the lots in the sale a day or two in advance, all got together (in a hotel room?) the night before the auction and 'bid' amongst themselves on the lots in the sale. The high 'bidder' won the right among the group to bid on that lot the next day. Since these bidders were, ultimately, responsible for the sale of about half the lots, this practice had a profound effect on the realizations of the sale. Ultimately, consignors were the ones that got ripped off. This activity is HIGHLY ILLEGAL. Bidders have been doing it for centuries, been getting caught for centuries, and are most likely doing it currently.

I am not saying that this is what you are observing, but it can't be ruled out either. The market exerts pressure, and the 'hogs' do their bit to get their piece of the pie. The market is unusually strong right now - probably COVID driven - so don't be surprised to see lots sell for much more than what you would normally expect. It's happening everywhere.

Having said all that, I have no idea what is really going on with what you are seeing. It could be all on the up-and-up, a few people in desperate need of stock during this strong market. It could equally likely be shenanigans. Either way, you are probably not close enough to tell the difference. Also, either way, if the bids are stronger than you care to make, it's probably time to walk away and wait for this strong market to level out, or wait for the (possible) post-COVID bear market. If I suspect shenanigans, I walk away. If you cannot let it go that easily, watch for the lots to re-appear. If this really is a scheme to raise realizations, there will be a ton of lots showing up again because even though they 'sold' for big $$$, they didn't really sell. In the end, the seller wants $$$, not a big fake number.
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United States
4974 Posts
Posted 08/30/2020   5:02 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add floortrader to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Sorry Moot ,I just don't see it that way ,sure some activity has picked up on collections and bulk lots due to more people staying home over Covid ,but that doesn't translate into the better stuff going up ,it has not .

Put up the names of the firms where prices have jumped because I just don't see it for better stuff .
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Posted 08/30/2020   5:26 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
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Posted 08/30/2020   6:04 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
All of the brick and mortar auction firms have been reporting record numbers of bidders and record prices as a result for single lots. Better items as it were. It is fact.
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Valued Member
Canada
40 Posts
Posted 08/30/2020   6:19 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Casey Magoo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Something sinister is going on, no doubt. This auction has been open for over a week and doesn't close for over a week. Opening bids are only $1, which I like. A typical lot will be showing say $6.50. Bidder 'A' bids $300 and Bidder 'B'bids $325. If only one person placed a high bid, the actual amount would be hidden, just adding the next increment, or $7.00. They have done this several hundred times. If they win all of these they are on the hook for an astronomical amount of money. They have 2 bids at $800, 9 at $400, etc. Close to 250 bids over $50. I haven't taken the time to study any further. Maybe they've bid 500 times, it's a big auction. I don't like seeing this at my #1 place to buy. Hopefully the people running the auction are watching this.
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Canada
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Posted 08/30/2020   6:32 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Casey Magoo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
One example.
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Edited by Casey Magoo - 08/30/2020 6:39 pm
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United States
1432 Posts
Posted 08/30/2020   6:46 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Climber Steve to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I don't do eBay, so what happens there doesn't affect me personally.

Regarding auctions in general, I bid on three lots and got one in the recent Rasdale auction. I anticipate I will bid again in their November auction if I see material that I'd like to have.

Otherwise, I'm finding what I need for my specialty collections from reliable dealers.

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Canada
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Posted 08/30/2020   7:01 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Casey Magoo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
This isn't eBay. It's a stamp only auction. I'm attaching a few more sickening examples. I guess they only want to bid once to have time to do other things?


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Edited by Casey Magoo - 08/30/2020 7:01 pm
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Posted 08/30/2020   7:15 pm  Show Profile Check rlsny's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add rlsny to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The prices are not unreasonable for the items listed assuming the descriptions are right and that they are in good condition.
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Valued Member
Canada
40 Posts
Posted 08/30/2020   7:22 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Casey Magoo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
They are winning over 250 lots with these high bids. The point is, are they going to pay over $30,000 when it's over?
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Posted 08/30/2020   7:35 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revcollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
There are certainly people out there who can.
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Valued Member
Canada
40 Posts
Posted 08/30/2020   7:42 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Casey Magoo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
These two are working as a team, so I still smell a rat. The second guy comes along later with a slightly lower bid if you look at the dates. Very deliberate actions.
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Edited by Casey Magoo - 08/30/2020 7:51 pm
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