While the so called Candle Auctions were once commonplace throughout all major auction houses across the UK, new technology and the online phenomenon has subsequently meant that internet auction sites have somewhat taken over.
The extent to which internet auction sites have over run the auction industry, is simply staggering. The situation in the auction industry is now such that Candle Auctions – which once upon a time were considered one of the most popular, if not the only, form of auction available – are now all but unheard of. Even the inner most sanctums of the most hard core auctioneering circles, would struggle to recall the days of old – the days where the Candle Auction roamed free!
Due to the fact that the Candle Auction was such a popular method of conducting auctions – this is in the days before the advent of internet auction sites I should point out – there eventually evolved to be a couple of different types of Candle Auction. And over the couple of paragraphs which follow, we are going to explain the differences between the two types.
First of all, for those of you who are reading this and wondering why you may not have heard about Candle Auctions before, there is a very good reason for that. Candle Auctions were actually the preferred method favoured by auctioneers right up until the start of the 18th Century. Soon after this the fickle world of the auction industry had moved on to new and more innovative ways of drawing in the crowds.
Never the less, Candle Auctions are still an important part of auctioneering history, so it is important that they and the people who took part in them, are remembered. With that in mind, let’s all take a quick trip down history lane and have a recap on how these Candle Auctions used to work.
“Sale by inch of candle” as it was more commonly known at the time, was the auctioneering practice which started with the lighting of a candle which was roughly one inch in height. Bidding on the lots would then commence, and the auction would only stop once the candle had burnt out. This technique made for a more exciting auction, as none of the participants in the sale would ever be able to tell exactly when the candle was going to go out. By adding an element of unpredictability in this way, the auction houses of the 1600’s had successfully found a way at making auctions exciting once again. This excitement would create a buzz around the auction and stimulate more people into taking part.
Another variation of the candle auction would be to stick a pin or nail into the candle and light it. In this variation on the theme, bidding would continue right up until the candle wax melted enough for the pin to drop out. The dropping out of the pin would then signify the end of the auction.
This innovative nature of the auction world would continue well into the 21st century, as internet auction sites of today continue to innovate and change the auction world for the better.