A collector's guide: How to bid at an online auction for bookplates

A collector's guide: How to bid at an online auction for bookplates

Jessica Le

Online auctions have revolutionised the way collectors acquire rare and valuable bookplates. Whether you're a seasoned collector or a novice starting your collection, participating in an online auction can be an exciting and rewarding experience. In this guide, we'll walk you through essential tips and strategies to help you navigate the world of online bidding for bookplates and increase your chances of securing those coveted additions to your collection.

  1. Research and Preparation: Before diving into an online auction, dedicate time to research and familiarise yourself with the bookplate market. Study past auction results, learn about notable artists and their styles, and understand the current trends. This knowledge will enable you to make informed decisions and identify bookplates that align with your collecting interests.

  2. Choose Reputable Auction Platforms: Selecting a trusted and reputable online auction platform is crucial. Look for platforms with a track record of handling bookplate auctions, featuring expert curation and verification processes. Read reviews and testimonials to gauge their reliability and transparency. Well-established platforms often provide detailed descriptions and high-resolution images of the bookplates, ensuring transparency and authenticity.

  3. Set a Budget and Stick to It: Before participating in an auction, determine your budget and set a maximum bid limit for each bookplate you're interested in. It's essential to establish these limits to avoid overspending and maintain control during the bidding process. Remember to consider additional costs such as buyer's premiums, taxes, and shipping fees when setting your budget.

  4. Monitor and Track: Once you've identified the bookplates you wish to bid on, closely monitor the auction listings. Pay attention to the start and end times, as well as any updates or changes. Utilise features like watchlists or alerts provided by the auction platform to stay informed about the status of the bookplates you're interested in.

  5. Timing is Key: Timing plays a significant role in online auctions. Place your bids strategically, avoiding bidding too early or too late. Bidding too early can invite unnecessary competition, while bidding too late may result in missing out on the item. Aim to place your bid within the final moments or seconds of the auction to minimise counterbids.

  6. Bid Incrementally and Assertively: To increase your chances of winning, bid incrementally and assertively. Instead of placing the minimum bid, consider bidding slightly higher to demonstrate your serious interest. Incremental bidding allows you to gauge the competition and adjust your bids accordingly while maintaining control over your budget.

  7. Stay Focused and Don't Get Discouraged: During the auction, it's essential to stay focused and not get discouraged if you're outbid. Remember that bookplate auctions can be competitive, and there might be instances where you miss out on certain pieces. Stay patient, learn from each bidding experience, and use it as an opportunity to refine your strategies for future auctions.

  8. Utilise Proxy Bidding: Most online auction platforms offer proxy bidding, where you can set your maximum bid in advance. The system will automatically incrementally increase your bid on your behalf, up to your specified limit, whenever competing bids are placed. Proxy bidding ensures that you remain competitive even if you're unable to actively monitor the auction.

Participating in online auctions for bookplates is an exhilarating experience that allows collectors to acquire unique and coveted pieces. By conducting thorough research, setting a budget, monitoring listings, and employing strategic bidding techniques, you can increase your chances of successfully securing the bookplates you desire. Remember to stay focused, enjoy the process, and learn from each auction experience. Happy bidding, and may your collection grow with extraordinary bookplates!

Jessica Le is the founder of Fleur & Fable. She writes about bookplates and is a member of The New Australian Bookplate Society.
☛ info@fleurandfable.com.au


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    January 08, 2024

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