How Auction Has Changed Over The Years

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word auction? Mine is bidding! Auction is a process of selling or buying something that is out for bid where bidders get to battle as the price gets higher.

History of Auctions

Auction started with just a simple haggling and negotiation process between a single buyer and seller which eventually became a single seller with a multiple buyer. The very first sporadic auction was held way back in the 15th century. Let’s take a look at how auctions evolve itself from what it was before to what it is now.

Ancient Auctions

Auctions were recorded during the time of the Roman Empire. Back then they not only put items for auction but beautiful maidens to be auctioned by possible husbands who will win as the highest bidder. It was also written that selling your daughter outside the auction house is very illegal and punishable by law. They also put the casualties of war for auction to be used as slaves for the wealthy family.

Most of the items being sold in an auction before are household essentials like candles and wine. Auctions like this during those times are well participated by the well-off individuals in the society. They held the auction venue at the “House of Lords” where candle flickers are used to signal the winning bid.

There also came a time when the entire Roman Empire was being put for auction facilitated by Praetorian Guards which led them to kill the Emperor first before they started the bidding for the entire empire. It was Didius Julianus who won the empire for only the amount of 6,250 drachmas for each guard that later started a civil war. This victory was not very pleasant for Didius as he had been beheaded shortly after he won the entire empire.

Conventional Auction

The modern day auction like we now know started in the United States of America by the 18th to the 19th century. Here they already safeguard some rules and regulate the auction houses to protect both the seller and the buyer as well as the auction house itself. Here they started printing a list of what’s for auction or what they called the auction catalog. Auction House became the trading post for the artwork and masterpieces that are being up for a bid. 

During this era, most of the auction houses held their auctions at the taverns or coffee houses where bidders can relax and have a sip of coffee before the start of the bid. Their auctions are happening daily so you could imagine how big this industry was during this era.

After the French Revolution, one of the most unforgettable auctions that took place in the United States history is “The Great Slave Auction” that comprises the largest number of people being sold at once in an auction which includes adult men and women as well as children of various ages. 

Live Auction

This could have been the most popular of all. It was televised and being produced professionally so viewers at home can get to watch how a live auction goes. This televised method jump started the popularity of live auctions all throughout the globe. These shows enticed the viewing public and made them want to feel the excitement of live bidding and not just watching it from the tv screen. 

As live auction gained popularity, it directly affected the rise of economic significance of the auction industry with regards to its contribution to society. Even the ordinary people are coming into an auction house just to experience the tense urge of winning a bid. The revenue is immense to a serious percentage of national income and by saying that, not only the law but the States start regulating the auction houses for its betterment.

Online Auction

Online Auction was born a little later after internet access acros the globe had been normalized. This online development has produced auctioneers a larger platform and easier way to bid without leaving your houses. Sellers can now submit their items up for an auction and the online platform will be the one to post it after valuation and appraisal. 

There are other kinds of auctions online where you as a seller have the liberty to post your item yourself and formulate your own caption to attract potential bidders. Online Auction however may vary on their rules and regulation depending on the Auction House’s rule. These rules are established to protect every party from technological advancement threats that could happen online. 

The convenience of an online auction however is entangled by numerous ways to withdraw the winning bid. Unlike in live auctions where you register, pay the deposit and pay for your winning bid even before leaving the auction house, online auction is the direct opposite. Bidders can bid here without a deposit (some require a deposit) which makes it difficult to know who among them has the actual capacity to pay for what they bid for. 

The negative effects of online auctions has caused the platform to reduce its reliability and trust of sellers which is an important factor because sellers are just as important as the buyers. Stringent measures are now being imposed to online auction rules to prevent scammers coming in and ruin the game.

Where Are We Now?

Auctions have come a long way since it started, from auctioning people, wife and slaves it is nor more sophisticated and humane. There are a number of items that are prohibited to be listed for auction and this is to value the integrity of a clean and fair auction. Auction nowadays are not only limited to the circle of wealthy people, anyone now can join as long as they have met the requirements and they have the capacity to pay for what they bid for. 

We as auction enthusiasts must do our part. Be observant and always respect the rules, by doing so, we may be able to help the culture of auction houses live forever.

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