Online Auction Terminology List

An online auction has its own unique language. To ensure everyone can navigate Oakwood Auctions easily and confidently, we’ve included a dictionary of terms and phrases you will come across in a online auction

Already an Auction Pro? View our upcoming Auction Calendar

Upcoming Auctions

Online Auction Terms

Absentee bid

When a bid is placed in advance of the auction start date/time. The ability to place an absentee bid isn’t always available. Oakwood allows bidders to participate without being present at its discretion. Absentee bidding is an alternative to online bidding.


A formal estimation of an item’s fair market or insurance value. Oakwood Auctions offers appraisal services to clients who want to determine an item’s worth.

As Is

Auctioning an item in its current condition with any existing faults or imperfections, without any warranties or representations as to its condition or fitness for a certain use. Buyers are responsible for any examinations they feel are necessary for their protection. Oakwood Auctions always recommends that buyers request a condition report.


A method of selling property in a public forum through open and competitive bidding. Auctions are also referred to as public auctions, auction sales or sales.



An offer to purchase an auction item at a certain price.

There is nothing like being the first to bid!

View Current Auction


The point in time at which bidding ends and the highest bidder is determined. At closing, final funds are received by Oakwood Auctions and ownership of the item changes hands to the buyer. Please read our TERMS AND CONDITIONS carefully for more details.


The amount paid to Oakwood Auctions for facilitating the sale of an item according to published terms and agreements.

Conditions of sale

The terms governing the auction process and sale. Conditions of sale are usually published in the Terms and Conditions and/or are announced by the auctioneer prior to opening the bidding.

Contingency-free or non-contingent

The requirement that a bid on an item not have any conditions attached (such as contingencies for financing or inspections). A non-contingent bid/offer does not obligate the seller beyond the published terms of the auction.


The legally binding document signed by the buyer at the point of registration with Oakwood Auctions outlining the auction’s terms of sale. The contract may also refer to the legally binding document signed by the seller outlining the terms of consignment and sale.


Increment bidding

The minimum amount an auction bid must be raised in order to surpass the last highest bid. The increment amounts change when specific bidding thresholds are reached, as outlined in the Bidding Increment Chart for each auction.

View increment bidding chart

Maximum bid

The highest amount a bidder is prepared to pay for a given lot.

Online Auction

An auction that is held online rather than being conducted in front of a traditional live audience.

Opening bid

The first bid offered at an auction.


Submission of a maximum bid that is higher than any other buyer's maximum bid on an item or items.


How to buy and place a bid

Online or Internet bidder

A prospective buyer who participates in the auction through an online bidding platform. In some auctions, online bidding may be offered for a period of weeks. In other cases, it may only be offered simultaneously with the live auction. In this scenario, the online bidder is competing in real time with bidders attending the live auction in person.

How to Bid

Proxy Bidding

The process by which an auction house automatically makes incremental bids on behalf of a bidder up to his stated maximum bid.

Reserve, Seller’s Reserve, or Reserve Auction

The reserve is the confidential minimum price a seller has stated that he or she will accept at the auction. If the final high bid falls above the reserve, the auctioneer has the authority to declare the property sold. If the high bid falls below the reserve, the seller reserves the right to accept or reject it.

Starting bid

The minimum bid which will be accepted by the auction house to start the bidding. It may or may not be the same as the reserve price designated by the consignor.

Terms and Conditions

Rules of the auction that govern how the property is to be offered, how the bidding will be handled, and how the ultimate purchase will take place. Bidders must read and agree to the terms and conditions of the auction before they register and participate in the auction.


Oakwood Auction, Rare Antique Book Collections

Have a question?

Oakwood Auctions is here to answer any inquires about the auction process!


Email us today!

Want to Host an Online Auction?

Or Have Something to Sell?

We are accepting consignments for our upcoming auctions in over 50 categories. We also host auctions for our partners across Canada & USA

We accept Single Items to Full Estates!