Practice makes perfect?

One of the very first times I ever participated in an auction was at a state of Wisconsin auction for automobiles. These are the vehicles that were used by the state of Wisconsin employees and agencies. For the most part, they have been well maintained but they also make it very clear at these auctions that bidder who wins, purchases the car AS IS.

My father-in-law had heard through some of his friends that this was a way to purchase an automobile pretty cheap and it so happened that his daughter (my wife) and I needed a car that had eight seat belts as our sixth child had recently been born. So my father-in-law and I headed down the road about 85 miles to this auction. Now remember, I’ve never been to one of these things before.

We got there, registered and they gave us a card that had a number on it. This was OUR NUMBER. When we wanted to bid we simply held up this card and the auctioneer would acknowledge us and credit us with the next bid. Next, we had to examine the vehicles that they were auctioning that day. A couple of our sons were with us and they would hop into all the mini-station wagons to see if there was a third seat in the back of the car. You may remember those mid 1980 Pontiac 6000s and Chevy Celebrity wagons. Sometimes they had a third seat way in the back. This would give us the two extra seat belts we needed. Three belts in the front seat, three in the second and two in the back… 8 seat belts. So the boys would jump into the mini wagons and see if there was a seat in the back, because, if you won an auction the car was yours… AS IS.

We took note of every car that had this extra seat. We would start the engine and check under the hood, look over the interior and check the mileage. We would see if it had air-conditioning or other features. We looked the cars over because the winner took possession of the car AS IS.

When the auctions started, it seemed that every one of these mini wagons were in high demand. They were selling for allot of money as we watched in amazement. Then they brought out this little four-door car. My father-in-law said, “Hey, that would be a good car for your work. It would give you good gas mileage.” “But dad, we didn’t check this car out before the auction and besides, it only has six seat belts and I need eight.” While he acknowledged my points he pressed the issue a little bit and then dropped it. Then a 1988 Chevy Celebrity came up. It was a four door, again no previous examination and it only had six seat belts. “Hey, let’s practice bidding,” my father-in-law said. I looked at him with disbelief because he was serious. “No dad, it only has six seat belts.” “Come on,” he said, “it’s just practice.” Now, I know that practice makes perfect, but not now. The auction was at $2,900. Then at $2,950. Finally it went to $3,000. The auctioneer asked, “Do I hear $3,050?” and to my amazement my father-in-law raised that card we had been given at registration and guess what? It was as if everyone at the auction knew the car wasn’t worth a penny over $3,000 and the auctioneer said, “Going once… going twice… SOLD for $3,050 to number 283!” My father-in-law was so excited. He looked at me and said, “WE just bought a car!” And I thought, “Yeah, with my money.”

Now, when you go to a penny auction site, you’re not placing bids that will cost you $3,050, but the principle is the same. You want to know what you need and make sure you examine it beforehand because when you win it, it’s yours.

There are a couple of ways to practice this penny auction bidding without spending $3,000. First, find a penny auction site that offers free bids when you register. There are a number of sites that offer these. One is They will give you 10 free bids when you register on their site. You can use these to test the waters and see what bidding is like on their site. You can even win with the bids they give you. Another site is called They have a wide variety of items and their customer service is top notch. In fact, I won an auction there with my free bids.

Another way to practice without a huge investment is to use This is a site that offers daily specials on bids at various penny auction sites. Now remember, just because they offer these specials doesn’t mean you just jump in. You still need to look over the site your thinking about trying, right?. You’re going to read the reviews, right? (see my previous blog). You will do your homework, right? My boys jumped in and out of allot of cars that day. We did our due diligence and you need to do yours too, even for a $5 purchase… unless $5 doesn’t mean anything to you and if that’s the case, can we get together for coffee? I’ve got something I would like to sell you. It only costs about $5.

So, free bids and special deals for bids. Two ways you can practice bidding in this exciting penny auction world without your father-in-law’s help! By the way… that Celebrity “WE” bought… I drove it for over 225,000 miles. One of the best cars I’ve ever had. But that doesn’t justify the method of bidding without practice.




Filed under Penny Auctions with Personal Experience

2 responses to “Practice makes perfect?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Practice makes perfect? | The Truth About Penny Auctions --

  2. Thanks for the story, amcoffee! Enjoyable read!

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