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Proxy? Choice? Unreserved? Learn the meaning of some common auction terms and other expressions that are used at Ritchie Bros. auctions.

Ask price

When a bidder places a bid, the auctioneer then offers the item to the remaining bidders for a slightly higher amount – the ask price. If no more bids are placed, the item is sold to the highest bidder at the bid price.

Auction A sale of goods that is set for a specific day and time in which interested buyers bid competitively on items being sold. Sale prices are not established before an auction, although some auctioneers set minimum bids or reserve prices. Every Ritchie Bros. auction is unreserved, which means there are no minimum bids or reserves; every lot is sold to the highest bidder on auction day.
Auction theater Ritchie Bros. auction sites feature a covered auction theater, where bidders can sit during the auction. Mobile equipment is driven in front of the auction theater while it is being sold, so the bidders can stay indoors and bid in comfort.
Auctioneer The auctioneer is the person who conducts the auction: calling out the ask prices, accepting bids from the bidders and announcing when an item is "Sold!" Ritchie Bros. auctioneers are responsible for maintaining the pace of an auction and ensuring that every bid is received and every item is sold to the highest bidder.
Bid An offer to buy the item at the current ask price. You typically signal your bid by raising your hand or your listing catalog. When you offer a bid, you are agreeing to purchase the item at that price if you remain the highest bidder.
Bid book See "listing catalog."
Bid catcher At Ritchie Bros. auctions, the bid catchers stand in front of the auction crowd and make note of every bid that is placed or offered by the bidders. The bid catchers then relay bids to the auctioneer either verbally or with signals. A bid catcher is sometimes called a "ringman."
Bidder A person who has registered to bid and is placing bids on the items in the auction. At Ritchie Bros. auctions, bidders can place bids in person, by proxy or over the internet.
Bidder number At Ritchie Bros. auctions, every registered bidder receives a unique bidder number when they register, which is printed on the cover of their listing catalog. If you are the highest bidder, the auctioneer takes note of the lot number, the final bid price and your bidder number to verify your purchase.
Bid price The current high bid. If no higher bids are offered, the bid price becomes the sale or purchase price.
Bid-in When an owner offers a bid on their own item to raise the selling price. Ritchie Bros. forbids owners and their agents from bidding on their own items, which ensures that only legitimate bidders can raise the ask price.
Buy back When an owner offers the highest bid on one of their own items, enabling them to "buy back" that item. Ritchie Bros. forbids owners and their agents from bidding on and buying their own items, which means every lot has a new owner at the end of the auction.
Buyer At Ritchie Bros. auctions, the person who placed the highest bid on an item becomes the buyer or new owner of that item. Because there are no reserve prices or set minimums, the highest bid offered becomes the sale price.
Catalog See "listing catalog."
Catalog order The winning bidder has the choice of taking one, two or more of the lots in a group in the order they are listed in the catalog, each at the winning bid price. At Ritchie Bros. auctions, items are sometimes sold in catalog order if they are similar and unused.
Choice At Ritchie Bros. auctions, a group of similar items are sometimes sold as a "choice group." The winning bidder has the choice of taking any one, two or more of the lots in the choice group, each at the winning bid price.
Consignor Someone who enters into an agreement with an auction company to have equipment or other items sold in an auction. A consignor is sometimes referred to as a "seller."
Listing catalog An itemized list of all the items being sold in the auction. At Ritchie Bros. auctions, bidders are given a listing catalog when they register. The customer's unique bidder number is printed on the catalog cover. Some people refer to the listing catalog as a "bid book" or "sale day catalog."
Lot The item(s) being sold in an auction. Sometimes a group of items (for example, a collection of tires) is sold as one single lot.
Lot number Every lot being sold at a Ritchie Bros. auction is given a unique lot number. The lots in each ring are sold in lot order.
Off-site auction An auction that is conducted on a customer's property or a leased site, rather than at one of Ritchie Bros.' auction sites.
Proxy bid A bid that is submitted in writing prior to an item being sold. The auctioneer bids on the proxy bidder's behalf, up to and including the maximum amount they specify. Placing a proxy bid (via phone or in person at the auction site) is a good option if you want to bid on two items being sold at the same time in different rings at a Ritchie Bros. auction.
Public auction A public auction is open to the general public; anyone can register and bid. Some auctions are dealer-only events. Ritchie Bros. auctions are open to the public.
Ramp Most Ritchie Bros. auction sites have a ramp in front of an auction theater. Mobile equipment is driven over the ramp as it's sold, so the bidders can see the equipment running and bid without leaving the comfort of the theater.
Ring A Ritchie Bros. auction can feature thousands of items, so we often divide our auctions into "rings" of similar equipment. Most auctions have two or more rings. For example, Ring One might be transportation equipment and Ring Two might be construction equipment. At some auctions, the rings are conducted at different times (e.g. Ring One in the morning, Ring Two in the afternoon); at larger auctions, two rings may be conducted simultaneously in different areas of the auction site (e.g. Ring One in the main auction theater and Ring Two in the Virtual Ramp room).
Ringman See "bid catcher."
Unreserved Unreserved means there are no minimum bids or reserve prices set on the items in the auction. Every item is sold to the highest bidder, regardless of price. Sometimes called an "absolute" auction. Every Ritchie Bros. auction is unreserved.
Virtual Ramp Many Ritchie Bros. auction sites now have a Virtual Ramp room with seating for the bidders. Photos of stationary equipment in the yard, real estate or large items located offsite are projected onto a large screen as they are sold, so bidders can sit inside and bid in comfort. At our Narita, Japan auction site, the auctions are conducted solely by Virtual Ramp.