How Sealed Auctions work

The Sealed Auctions platform provided by Sotheby's provides a secure and safe environment for buyers from all over the world to bid on high-end vehicles, luxury products, and fine art.

Sotheby's Sealed auctions

Please select the amount you would like to bid and click “Place Bid.” If your bid is greater than the current high bid ¹, you will be the new high bidder, otherwise you will see where your current bid ranks. If your bid is ranked 11th or lower your ranking will be shown below the leaderboard.

You may elect to raise your bid at any time while the lot is still open for bidding ².

For a sealed bid auction, you will only be able to see your own submitted bid - not the high/winning bid (unless you are the high bidder). The delta between bidder positions will not be disclosed.

Outbid notifications

If you were the high bidder, but a bid placed by another bidder exceeds your bid, you will be notified via the email address you have set in your account preferences, and the lot page will indicate you have been outbid by the change in your ranking.

Anti-snipe feature

If a bid is placed within the final 90 seconds that causes that bidder to be ranked in the top 3, or if a bid is placed by the top three bidders, the auction timer will be reset back to 90 seconds to prevent a bidder from trying to place a high bid in the final moments of the auction. This also gives the new bidder time to consider raising their bid further if they are not the high bidder.

Lots with reserve

Some lots may be subject to a reserve price or the minimum amount that a seller will accept as the winning bid. The reserve price will remain confidential. For lots with a reserve price, your bid must meet or exceed the reserve to win the lot. If any bid meets or exceeds reserve, that will be noted. In the event you are the highest final bidder, but your bid has not met the reserve price, the lot will not sell.

Lots without reserve

If you are bidding on a lot that is “offered without reserve,” you will win the lot if you are the high bidder at the time bidding closes.

¹ Accepted bids are determined by the increment table below.
Current bidMinimum increment
Current bid0 - 999Minimum increment25
Current bid1,000 - 2,490Minimum increment50
Current bid2,500 - 4,999Minimum increment100
Current bid5,000 - 9,999Minimum increment250
Current bid10,000 - 24,999Minimum increment500
Current bid25,000 - 99,999Minimum increment1,000
Current bid100,000 - 499,999Minimum increment5,000
Current bid500,000 - 999,999Minimum increment10,000
Current bid1,000,000 - 2,499,999Minimum increment20,000
Current bid2,500,000+Minimum increment50,000
² Any bidder, including the high bidder, may still increase their bid by placing another bid for a higher value.