How to Bid at Auction  

How to Bid at Auction

Blog | February 10, 2016

Auctions can be overwhelming and confusing for first- time bidders. However, once involved in the process, auctions are one of the best ways to find fine art, memorabilia, furniture or jewelry to build a sophisticated and unique collection. This guide will tell you exactly what you need to know in order to bid at auction for the first time. 

All Leslie Hindman auctions have a preview period, which is typically scheduled for the 3-5 days leading up to the auction. The previews are free and open to the public. This gives potential bidders the opportunity to view all lots, request a condition report on an item, speak with a specialist and make notes on what to bid on. Requesting a condition report means that the Head of Sale will inspect and item for you personally, including specific details that might not be included in its standard cataloguing. While you are at the preview, you are also able to register for the auction or leave absentee bids. (See below for information on absentee bids.)


Each sale offers a printed catalogue, which includes detailed auction information with full descriptions of highlight lots including provenance, exhibition history and auction estimate as well as some photographs. Catalogues are available for purchase by contacting our Client Services team at 312-280-1212. The full catalogue can also be viewed interactively online or downloaded into a printable version. Online, clients may also view enlarged photographs, track lots, place absentee bids or request additional information.

There are four ways to bid at auction through Leslie Hindman Auctioneers. Please note, all first time bidders will be required to submit a photo ID and credit card information via email, fax or in person.

During the auction, the auctioneer will have all absentee bids and reserves at the podium and will begin the bidding at his/her discretion. Typically, the bidding will begin at half of the low estimate on the item.


FOUR METHODS: Bid at Auction


An absentee bid reflects the maximum value a bidder is willing to pay for a specific lot. This will be processed with all other absentee bids and the bids will be executed during the live auction, whether or not the bidder is present. You can pick up our bid form document at the front desk during the preview or download it here from our website. Please return it as an email attachment to, fax it to 312-280-1211 or turn it in in person at our office. Please record the highest hammer price you are willing to pay for the item.


You may place absentee and telephone bids online using our website at You must first register for our site.

  • Go to
  • Click Login/Register in the top right hand corner. Fill out the form with your contact information and click Send at the bottom of the page
  • You will then receive an email confirming your login information, including your username and password.
  • After a web profile is created, you must follow the steps below to place bids in the specific sale.
  • Go to
  • Click Login in the top right hand corner
  • Enter your username and password
  • Click the Catalogues tab at the top of the home screen
  • Click View Lots Online on the catalogue of the auction you wish to bid in
  • On the item you would like to place an absentee or telephone bid on, click Bid and Track
  • Follow the prompts. You will then receive an email confirmation of the bids you place.

*Phone bids will not be accepted on lots with a low estimate below $300.

*Please register for the auction at least 24 hours in advance of the start of the auction. Online absentee bids will not be accepted within 2 hours of the start of the sale.


You may register to bid live online via LHLive, our personal online bidding platform. This allows you to bid in real-time online as though you were in the saleroom.

  • Register for our site (see above)
  • Go to
  • Click Login in the top right hand corner
  • Enter your username and password
  • Click on Bid Online in the top right hand corner.
  • In the chart, locate the sale in which you would like to bid
  • In the far right column of the sale’s row, click Register to bid live
  • Confirm your mailing address and click Submit
  • Click agree to the Terms and Conditions
  • You will receive a confirmation email when you are registered for the auction
  • After receiving this confirmation, please allow between 5 and 10 minutes for the website to process your registration.
  • When you log into the site to bid on the day of the auction, press the Bid Online button in the top righthand corner and click Participate Live on the auction to begin bidding in real time.


Should you choose to bid at auction in person, you may register for a paddle at the entrance to the saleroom either on the day of the auction or during the preview. If you pre-register at the preview, please visit the front desk to pick up your paddle on the day of the auction. Registration requires your full contact information, photo identification, and your signature agreeing to the Conditions of Sale. 

If you are the high bidder on a particular item, the title will pass to you upon the hammer and you become the legal owner once full payment is executed. An invoice is generated and you will receive it within 24 hours via email or onsite if you are participating live. We accept wire transfers, bank drafts or cashier’s orders, cash or checks. Under certain circumstances, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers may accept payment by credit card, however processing fees may apply. Please check with your saleroom for details. If you have provided us with credit card information, we will NOT automatically charge your card. 

In addition to the hammer price, the buyer agrees to pay Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, Inc. a buyer’s premium and the applicable state sales tax added to the final total.  If you have any questions regarding the applicable sales tax, please contact our Accounting Department at”



Hammer Price and Buyer’s Premium




Bidding Option

$0 – $100,000

$100,001 – $1,000,000

Over $1,000,001














Unless other arrangements have been made, all property must be removed from our premises within the seven business days following an auction.

Buyers assume full responsibility for the packing and shipping of lots won at auction. Our Recommended Shippers offer a wide variety of local, domestic, and international shipping options.

Sometimes bidders are interested in certain items or artists. Leslie Hindman Auctioneers makes it easy to set up alerts based on keywords you select on our website. Lot Alert will search for your registered keywords every time an auction is posted online and you will receive an email with a link to the lots in the published sale which match your search criteria. 

Once you understand how to bid at auction, you will find that it can be an exciting way to find a unique item or begin to build your collection. We invite you to come to a live auction to experience it for yourself or even participate live online on our bidding platform, LHLive or Bidsquare

To register for our site, click here.

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