Some of you may not be familiar with the bidding process for Distant Auctions (also known as “Silent Auctions”), so I hope this guide will be helpful.

My auction is not comparable with the likes of eBay, nor is it me waving a mallet around in some draughty hall. Basically, the auction opens on Day 1 and closes at midday UK time on Day 30 (or thereabouts), when the guillotine comes down. The highest bid logged for each Lot at that point wins that Lot.

During the 30-day period while the auction is open, bids can be entered, removed, increased or decreased. The bid that counts is the one on the books at closure and “what you bid is what you pay”.

This has been compared with a sealed tender bidding process and that’s a pretty fair comparison However, one key difference from the sealed tender bidding is the flexibility available in a Distant Auction using the “discretion” option. For example, if you bid at £500 and give me 20% discretion this means that if your £500 bid wins, that’s firm and you will not pay more.

However, if you are out-bid, your 20% discretion gives me the ability to bid on your behalf up to £600. I do so in steps of 5%. So if the top bid is £550, beating your £500 and that bidder has given me no discretion, the Lot would be yours at £577.50.

Bidders new to the system have asked “How do I know what to bid?” and I always suggest that they simply bid what the Lot is worth to them.

The auction catalogue closes for new entries two or three weeks before launch. Simultaneously, Section Z opens for late entries and remains open for new entries until 7-10 days after the main auction launches, when I close it to new entries. Two or three days later, I open Section Z for bidding. The relevant dates are shown in the catalogue

Bidding for Section Z closes at the same time and on the same day as the main auction. Again, the closure date is show on the auction catalogue and the website.