Susan Stouder’s three-car garage, basement and attic are full of auction finds she’s collected over the past two decades. The 52-year-old Collingswood, New Jersey insurance executive likes to spend weekends at live auctions, where she bids on everything from farm implements to furniture. “Very rarely do I buy anything,” she admits, as evidenced by her overcrowded storage space. She’s not the only one feeling this. Experts say auctions are structured to attract potential buyers and turn viewers into bids.
There are even college scholarships that focus on “competitive excitement,” the idea that the heat of competition can fuel an impulse to win at all costs. Cheryl Wakslak, assistant professor of management and organization at the USC Marshall School of Business, agrees. “There’s something that makes you think, ‘I win’ if you walk away with something,” she said. Indeed, competitive excitement might have been at work last November, when a three-panel portrait of Francis Bacon fetched a record $142.4 million (including commission) after an aggressive bidding session. at Christie’s in New York.
While a live auction can generate the most excitement, online auctions can also get your heart pumping, says Wakslak. These days, the lines are blurred between different auction formats: people sitting at their computers are often competing with bidders on the ground in live auctions and with those connecting by phone.
For her part, Stouder says she’s developed a good sense of worth over the years and tries hard not to overpay. One strategy Stouder recommends is to identify who the professional resellers are and watch when they stop bidding on an item.
Summary of news:
- After cancellation, the auction house cancels the sale
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