English Auction

What is an English Auction?

English auction refers to the process or method of the sale of a single quantity of a product where the bidding starts with the starting price which is set by the seller of the product and increases with the continuous bidding from the different buyers until the price is reached at a level above which there is no further bidding and this price will be the selling price of the product under the auction.


English auction is the auction process under which one quantity of a product is listed for sale. Under this method, all the bidders are aware of each other, and the bids are placed openly in front of everyone. The process starts with the declaration of the opening bid or the reserve priceReserve PriceReserve price refers to the minimum price at which the seller of an item is ready to sell its item in an auction, below which he is not obliged to accept the deal.read more, which the seller of the product sets. After this, the interested bidders start placing their respective bids in an ascending order, i.e., the next bid should be higher than the previous bidder’s price. This process continues until there is a bid above which any other buyer is not interested in buying the item. This is the highest bid and the selling price of the product.


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Example of English Auction

Mr. A defaulted on the loan taken from the bank. On his inability to repay the loan, the bank decided to sell off the security attached to the loan, i.e., Mr. A’s house. So, the bank decided to recover the loan by selling the house through the bidding process. Bank arranged the auction and advertise about the auction so that many bidders can come and bid. The bank’s initial price was $ 250,000, which was the current market value of the house prevailing at the time of auction.

The bidding process started by the host of the bid program declared the initial set price as $ 250,000 to all the bidders at the time of auction and asked them to bid further. One of the bidders placed the bid at $ 265,000, and further bid increased to $ 275,000 and then to $ 300,000. After which no further bid was received. So, the house was sold to the person who bided for $ 300,000, and with this, the host announced the completion of the auction. This is an example of an English auction.


  • First Variation in an English clock auction where the auction completes in a single day only by arranging the bidding and inviting the bidders on the place of the auction. In this type of auction, the bid starts with the lower amount and completes at the higher amount, and in the end, the winner is announced, and the host announces the completion of the bid.
  • The other type of English auction is time interval auction, which is not completed in a single day, and it takes a few days to complete the auction. The auction may be in physical form or online form. The bidders are given the time frame within which the bid is to be submitted, and then the host will announce the winner, who is the highest bidder. The example is tendered, contract bidding, government bidding, etc.

English Auction Bidding Strategy

  1. Price Step Bidding – In price step bidding, the bidding starts with the lower amount, and slowly and gradually, it increases without any big gap between the two biddings.
  2. Higher Price or Lighthouse Bidding – In this type of bidding, the bidding starts with the lower amount, and suddenly the buyer bids for the much higher amount and because of which the small bidders got eliminated.
  3. Bid Cutting – In bid cutting, the bid starts as normal, and the same gets increased mistakenly by one of the bidders. After that, the bidder wants to correct the bid, so he asks to forbid cutting and bid at the higher than the previous bid value. If the host permits him to do so, then only the bidder can cut the bidding.
  4. Bidding by Head Actions – If the bidder nods the head, it is considered he is still in bidding, and if he shakes his head, it means he declares by his actions that he can’t bid further.

English Auction vs. Dutch Auction

  • English auction is a type of auction where the bid starts from the lower value and reaches any highest value. In contrast, in a Dutch auction, the bidding starts from the highest value and reaches the lower value but not less than the minimum amount set.
  • One can bid from minimum to maximum in English bidding, whereas in Dutch bidding, one can bid from maximum to minimum.
  • The highest price is not set in an English auction, whereas the Dutch auction is the highest price.


  • Arrangement of bidding involves a high cost.
  • This leads to undue gain to the auctioneer if there are aggressive bidders.
  • Eliminates the small bidders.
  • No maximum price is set. The bidder can bid any highest price.
  • Legal regulations and formalities are more.

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