Fun Facts About Auctions

What’s So Fun About Auctions?

Most people have an idea on how auctions work. An item is put up for bidding, the auctioneer screams at the top of his lungs, counting down the number of bids for each price point, until there is no one left who can bid any higher. However, there is so much more to auctions than one would expect. Time to discover some fun facts about auctions!

What Are Some Fun Facts About Auctions?

Here’s a few off the top of our heads…

  • Auctions Have A Lot of History 
  • You Have Multiple Ways to Bid At An Auction
  • There Are Actually Different Kinds of Auctions
  • Auctions Used to be Held By Candlelight
  • Someone Tried To Auction Off An Entire Country

Auctions Have A Lot of History 

Most people are aware of modern auctioning, the kind that you see in movies where a room filled with rich people bid for ludicrously-priced items. But did you know that the concept of auctions existed as far back as the Roman Empire? 

The first accounts of auctions were recorded over 2500 years ago, where Romans would often auction off spoils of war, seized goods, and slaves.

You Have Multiple Ways to Bid At An Auction

Apart from the standard method of raising your hand and naming your bid, there are actually other ways to participate in an auction. Bidding by telephone involves you telling a proxy at the auction place a maximum bid, after which they will try their best to bid on your behalf, until the bid surpasses your maximum or your bid is the last one standing, whichever comes first. 

Another increasingly popular bidding method is online. The site eBay is probably the most recognizable form of this on the internet, where everyone interacts with a web interface, one-upping each other’s bids until the timer reaches zero.

There Are Actually Different Kinds of Auctions

The most common auction procedure that people know is called the English Auction, but there are actually 2 more types of auctions that still exist and remain in use today. The second is the Dutch Auction, where the reverse of the English Auction happens. The auctioneer starts with a very high asking price and lowers it until one of the bidders feels that the price is acceptable. 

The third type is called a sealed-bid auction, where all bids are made prior to the actual activity. The auctioneer then determines who has placed the highest bid and announces the winner. 

Auctions Used To Be Held By Candlelight

This was an interesting method of holding an auction back in the earlier days of England. The auctioneer would light a candlestick fixed to the wall in a dark room and start the bidding process. The bidding would then end once the candlelight flickers out. 

This method was used to prevent people from sneakily placing their bids at the last second, because they didn’t know exactly when the auction would end. 

Someone Tried To Auction Off An Entire Country

In 2006, an Australian resident tried to sell the entirety of New Zealand on eBay. He set his starting bid at $0.01 AUD, which then quickly gained the attention and bids of other users on eBay for reasons unknown. 

During the duration of the bidding process, the price went up to $1,300 AUD! Needless to say, the site administrator for eBay quickly struck the auction down, “Clearly, New Zealand is not for sale.”


Auctions are often seen as an activity that recently came into existence for the rich to flex their wealth over unsuspecting bidders. While this does happen, it’s also important to recognize the rich history and fun background behind this event! Are you going to bid on any auctions soon?

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