Auctions can be a thrilling and rewarding experience, especially when you get a great deal on an item you’ve been wanting. So just how did auctions come to be? Here is a brief history on the idea of the bidding event.
These events seem to be a part of every culture and down throughout history, though they have not always been the most common of practices. A set price is what most of the world is used to buying today. Big name stores set a price they want to sell their goods at, and the public either buys it or they do not. Auctions, on the other hand, tend to be more chance driven, a starting price may be given and depending on who is there and what they wish to spend, or how competitive things get, will determine what the goods go for.
Auctions can be traced all the way back to the B.C. era, with 500 B.C. being the earliest recordings of such events. Back then it was not items being auctioned off but women to be taken as wives. These are the first recorded auctions, but no one knows when the first auction was held as it pre-dates recorded history.
The Romans were the next civilization to use auctions on public record, typically to sell the spoils of war. In fact, in 193 A.D. the entire empire of Rome was auctioned off to the highest bidder. The Auctioneers were the Praetorian Guard who had just killed the previous emperor. The highest bidder, Didius Julianus, was named emperor, that is until he was beheaded a few short months later. It’s a good thing auctions today aren’t quite so violent!
After all that chaos, it seemed that auctions fell out of popular opinion and remained unpopular for most of the world, at least for a time. Around the 18th century they saw a resurgence, as art auctions rose in popularity. In 1744, today’s well known Sotheby’s held its very first auction, and Christie’s held its first in 1766. These two still remain the largest most well known auction houses in the world today.
Nowadays auctions are popular and you can find multiple auction platforms from police auctions to agricultural auctions, to auctions of estates and properties. The newest form of auctions, thanks to the rise of the internet, is of course online auctions. Now people can place their bids and do a little competitive shopping without ever needing to leave their own homes.
Be a part of history by finding the best online auction site and placing your bid! Who knows where the future of auctions will lead!