Don’t be reserved about bidding at auction! 

We tell you everything you need to know about reserve prices. 

What makes Lloyds Auctions totally different to a normal retail store, is the bidding process! 

Bidders can decide how much they want to pay for an item by deciding how much that item is worth to them. 

We get a lot of questions around reserve prices, how they work and why we have them. Our bidding, reserve prices and referral processes are what sets us apart from buying retail!

Allow us to explain a bit more and arm you with all the information you need about reserves before bidding!

What is a reserve?

A reserve price is an amount of money the vendor (seller) wants for their item and it will not be sold unless someone bids for this amount or higher. 

If an item is unreserved it will sell for whatever the highest bid is, even if it’s only $1!

Why do we have them?

A vendor is welcome to put a reserve price on their item before entering it in one of our auctions. 

This makes them feel safe and comfortable knowing they won’t have to hand over their item for less money than what they expect. 

Put yourself in a vendor’s shoes! You wouldn’t want to sell your house for a winning bid of $100, would you?!

While our auctions are extremely popular, we cannot always guarantee that there will be enough bids on an item to reach a price the vendor is happy with. 

Reserves also help vendors cover their costs. For example, if a car cost $500 to fix up, vendors would want to make sure they made at least $500 at auction in order to make a profit.

How do I tell if an item has a reserve?

All our lots will have a reserve price unless specifically stated that they are unreserved in the lot description.

Often, we can have whole auctions that are unreserved, meaning every lot within the auction will be sold for whatever the highest bid is!

Why can’t I know how much the reserve is?

If we stated reserve prices for our lots, it defeats the purpose of an auction and we become just another retailer! 

People would be hesitant to bid over a reserve price as they would be convinced they are paying too much, even though it might be worth more to them.

Our policy states that we cannot reveal the reserve price of an item, so you must always bid what you would be happy to pay for the item.

This is also not to deter our bidders from bidding! Sometimes our vendors negotiate their reserve price during our referral process. 

Vendors may end up selling their item to the highest bidder for less than their original reserve price, but if this price was advertised before the auction then many people may find the item too expensive. 

Why do our bids start at $1? 

We start our bidding on each lot at $1, in most of our auctions! 

We don’t want to intimidate anyone with an expensive start price, so this affordable price encourages everyone to put in a bid which creates activity in our auctions.

You are much more likely to reach the reserve price on an item you want if you have someone to bid against! Otherwise your first bid will end up as the top bid and may not be high enough.

We can see what items create the most bid excitement and we can also gauge a better idea of the price people are willing to pay for a certain item, helping our vendors set more realistic reserve prices!

What happens if my bid isn’t as high as the reserve and the auction closes?

If you have a referred bid it means you were the highest bidder on a lot when it closed but the reserve price has not been met. This means the lot has not been sold yet.

Our referrals team will contact you and let you know the reserve price and ask if you would like to increase your offer. You do not have to and can turn in the item if you wish.

You can check to see if your bid has been accepted by going to the My Account tab on our website and then Purchases page. If the item appears here your bid has been accepted. 

If it does not, it has been submitted to the vendor for their consideration and may still be accepted, so please check back later.

How do I know if I won?

If you are the top bidder at the time the lot closes you will see a green tick beside your bid and be “in contention”. 

If the reserve price on the lot has been met, you will have won the item. This will be confirmed by receiving a successful bid email.

Looking for additional support? Have questions you need answered?
Our support staff are here to help you, simply click on an icon below to get in-touch with us.

Matt Kalinski

Head Of Valuations

Qualifications & Affiliations

American Society of Appraisers Candidate Member

Certified Practicing Valuer AVAA


Matt has been in the valuations space for many years and has extensive experience in the space across an abundance of various industries. He now leads the valuations teams for Lloyds Auctions with a passion for encouraging his team to set and achieve high goals and produce great results for the company whilst growing the team’s skills starting with a great culture and team mindset.