COVID-19 – Important Auction Information

The History of Auctions

Auction House East Anglia

The history of auctions

The word ‘auction’ is derived from the latin word ‘actus’ meaning ‘increasing’ and is a word many are familiar with. But have you ever wondered how the auctions we know today came to exist?

It probably comes as no surprise that auctions have been around for centuries with the first type of auction believed to date back to 500BC. Although, these ancient greek auctions weren't so much about buying and selling items or property but instead involved families selling the women as wives to the highest bidder. The act of bidding on people continued throughout Roman times but after the fall of the Roman empire it appeared that auctions in general decreased. That is, until candle lit auctions evolved.

These types of auctions are a bit different to the auctions that we would recognise today. At the start of the auction a candle would be lit and the auction would end once the candle had burnt out. This way no one truly knew when the auction would end, adding even more suspense to any bidding and really building anticipation in the room.

This led to the rise of the ‘auction houses’; with the Stockholm Auction House being the first to open in 1674. This began the process of auctioning items in the way that we remain familiar with today.

As time passed, the growth of technology brought the introduction of online auctions. This type of auction has continued to gradually grow and gain popularity in the past decade, but the ongoing social distancing caused due to the coronavirus pandemic has led to a meteoric rise.

The easy nature of the online/hybrid auction has led to much larger demand for auctions, with houses across the country, including ourselves, seeing large audience gains. Our Auction House East Anglia June Auction saw a 139% rise in comparison to pre-covid auctions. The evolution towards this process has been a saving grace during these difficult and uncertain times. For our separate blog outlining further benefits of our new online hybrid auctions, see here:

This growth of the hybrid auction coincides well with the rise of people choosing to buy and sell property via Auctions rather than Estate Agents. In 2019, property sales via auction were up 22% on the previous year. Not only is buying and selling properties at auction a faster process, but it scraps the risk of those all too-often told horror stories of buyers or sellers pulling out at the last minute of sales via Estate Agencies; Once the gavel drops, the deal is done, and that's the bottom line.

Are you looking to get involved in our popular property auctions? Give us a call or sign up to our next auction to ensure you don't miss out.

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