Bidding Strategies for Kolbe & Fanning Sales

Every auction house is a little different, with varying procedures and policies. Here are some suggestions for bidding in Kolbe & Fanning’s auctions.

Third-Party Online Platforms

Our third-party platform is Auction Mobility, which can be accessed at You’ll need a credit card to sign up, as they need to verify your identity. Third-party platforms provide bidders with increased anonymity and security, though they require an additional level of verification.

Be Aware of Bidding Increments

The bidding platform sets the bid increments. For instance, bidding between $100 and $200 will be in $10 increments. This applies whether you are placing bids directly with us via email, post, fax or phone, or whether you are using the online platform (in advance or live). If we receive a bid of $112, we will have to round it down to $110 to accommodate the bidding increment.

Bid Live or in Advance?

People have differing opinions about whether it is best to bid in advance or wait until the live sale to place their bids. With busy schedules, it is often difficult to remember when an auction will take place, and you never know how long it might run. We have found that the best results are derived from a combination of advance and live bidding. Placing advance bids provides the comfort of knowing that your bids are being taken care of, while monitoring the live sale gives you the chance to jump in and raise bids if you are outbid. This can be especially useful if some of your bids on early lots have been unsuccessful, freeing up funds to be more aggressive on later lots.


We’ve noticed during live sales that some bidders seem to wait until just before a lot is going to close before they place their bid. There is no advantage to doing so, as our auctions are conducted by a person, not a clock. If we receive a last-second bid, we will not close the lot until other bidders have had the opportunity to respond.

Traditional Bidding

Remember that you do not have to bid through the online system in order to participate in our sales. You have the option of giving your bids directly to us and having us execute them for you at the live online sale. Many of our clients do this, sending us bids through the mail, by fax, or (more often) through email or by phone. If you want to do this, please remember that we need to receive your bids by the close of the day before the sale, so that we have time to organize our bids and get them ready for the sale. We will always attempt to buy lots for less than your maximum bids when competition allows. Successful auction businesses are built by establishing trust with bidders, and we are well aware of our responsibility to conduct our auctions with professionalism and discretion.

Read the Terms of Sale

Make sure you read the Terms and Conditions of Sale, which include payment information, shipping fees, condition descriptions, bidding increments, and other important details. You can find them at and printed in each sale catalogue.

Shipping Fees

Books are heavy, and shipping rates are primarily determined by the weight of the package. We are happy to provide bidders with estimated shipping costs for particular lots. Please ask us in advance of the sale to give us time to respond. While we usually use the U.S. Postal Service for our shipments, we can provide rates for FedEx, UPS, or DHL on request.

Please let us know if you have any questions about bidding in our sales. We’re always happy to talk with our clients about any part of the process. To register for the online sale, please go to Good luck!