Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Auction (Lat. augeo, I increase), a public sale in which the price is increased by stimulating competition among the purchasers. In an ordinary auction each bid is an advance on the previous one; in a Dutch auction the seller starts with a higher price than he is willing to take, and lowers it till a purchaser is found. In England a "reserve price" may be set on the goods, unless the sale is expressly stated to be "without reserve." Conditions of sale must be previously brought under the notice of the intending purchaser, and are essential to the validity of the sale. The auctioneer (who in the United Kingdom is subject to a licence duty of £10 annually) frequently acts as the agent for intending purchasers who may be absent. He is not liable for the price of the goods unless it has been actually received by him.