Bottle Auction - Reserve vs Opening Bid


Well-Known Member
Got a question for anyone familiar with auctions...

What's the point of having an undisclosed "reserve" price that's higher than the minimum opening bid?

If, say, a consignor says "I won't sell it for less than $1000.00" then why not make the minimum bid $1000.00? Why set opening bid at 100.00 or 500.00?


Well-Known Member
I think it helps the seller gauge the interest and value of his/her bottle without feeling like they let it sell for too little money....Jim


Well-Known Member
What's the point of having an undisclosed "reserve" price that's higher than the minimum opening bid?

There can be many different explainations, some may be valid , some not.

One of the ideas of how auctions work is bidders build momentum. Bidders get caught up in the bidding process and end up paying more than they would for the same item at a fixed price. Starting an item at a very low price is a way to entice multiple bidders and get interest. This works best when there is no reserve. Some sellers may not have confidence they will achieve thier goal price though (often when the seller paid too much for the idem and is trying to resell it). The problem is reserve auctions have become a flag of an unrealistic price set for many bidders and they dont even bother with those auctions.

People also use a hidden reserve when they dont really intend to sell an item but they want to see what its worth.


Well-Known Member
I think a fairly high opening bid is a real drag on selling even a decent bottle, IMO. I've seen stuff offered with a high opening bid not sell the first time, then come back around and sell for more $ the second time, with reserve rather than opening bide. Of course, those of you who sell on the bay know more about selling than this lowly buyer...

Jim G


Well-Known Member
Thats a good point, but it also brings a bunch of bids before it would even sell. That attracts attention I suppose.

Ding, ding, ding! Folks we have a winner. Nothing I dislike more than a reserve price auction and that's said as both a buyer and a seller. As a seller, why on Earth would I want to expose an item just to have it not sell? Most folks determine the value of a given bottle via auction prices. So, if the bottle I think is "worth" $500 only brings $350 (reserve not met) how can that help me as a seller? There is now a record that that this bottle "brought" $350 so folks are going to perceive this to be its value, not the $500 originally hoped for. Just sell it, I say and let the chips fall as they may. End rant.


Well-Known Member
I dont think you can ever convince sellers one way or another no matter how logical your arguments. Some people will always use reserves , some people will never use them.
Fleabay takes your money either way[;)]


Well-Known Member
I always frown on reserves.. it's really a dumb way to sell.. it just tells everyone that as a seller, you are overly attached to the item and expect a 'lot' for it. Buyers need to think there's a chance to get it good-n-cheap, at least for a while, until they see other bidders bidding.. then it becomes personal.. I am an eternal sucker for the .99 starting bid. I have bought MANY bottles on ebay, and that was my initial motive.. to get it for 99 cent just because nobody else saw it.. the price I end up paying is usually the snipe amount... and usually more than it is worth.

Bixby Bill

Well-Known Member
I buy & sell quite a lot on eBay, and I hate bidding on something with a reserve. If I`m bidding in an auction, I want to know that if I`m the high bidder, I`ve won the item, not just to bid on it and wonder how many times the bottle`s value I have to go to get it. For me an auction is a gamble, I set my starting bid so I`m at least getting my money back, which is usually a very low price, some things sell for the opening bid while others take off like crazy, but I can`t run an auction with reserves because it makes me feel like I`m hiding something. I like my bidders to know that if they are the high bidder, they`ve won it. If they think the opening bid is too high, they don`t have to bid either. That`s my 2 cents worth.

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