Home A Glossary of Auction Terms…

A Glossary of Auction Terms…

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Abstract of Title – A copy of part of the deed showing ownership.

Acid cutting – A method of decorating glass where objects were coated with an acid-resistant substance, such as wax, a design was scratched on the wax with a steel point and fixed by dipping the object in acid.

Air twist stem – On drinking glasses and other glassware, a stem decorated with spiral filaments of hollow glass.

Articles of roup – All documents related to Scottish auctions.

As Found – A term that often appears in auction catalogues and denotes that the piece in question is badly damaged or in poor condition.

Albarello – A tin-glazed drug jar with a narrow waist.

A Steal – An item bought for well under its true market value, or a piece offered for sale at a supposedly cheap price.

Auctioneer – The person asking for and accepting bids.

Applique – In textiles, applying small patches of fabric to a base fabric to make a design.

Armorial – An engraved crest or coat of arms.

Automata – A term covering a variety of mechanical toys with moving parts, popular during the 18th and 19th centuries.

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Bent – Either means the piece has been stolen or that there is something not quite right about it – i.e. it has been ‘doctored’ in some way.

The Bid/Bidder – offered by/person offering to buy.

Baluster – Vase-shaped form with a bulbous base, narrow waist and slightly flared neck. Commonly used on silverwares, ceramics and stems of drinking glasses.

Ball and Claw – A furniture foot in the shape of an animal’s paw grasping on ball. Used on cabriole legs.

Basaltes – Unglazed black stoneware, developed by Wedgwood.

Bergere – French-style armchair with wood frame and upholstered sides.

Biscuit – Unglazed porcelain, fired only once.

Blue-dash charger – A delftware dish decorated with a border of blue brush strokes.

Blueing – A decorative heat treatment applied to metal weapons which also protected from rust.

Bone china – Porcelain made by the addition of large quantities of bone ash.

Bracket clock – A type of spring-driven clock, designed to stand on a surface.

Brassed up – Refers to a piece of furniture that has had brass handles substituted for the original wooden ones, and possibly other brass embellishments, such as stringing, added to enhance the attractiveness of the piece to potential buyers.

Bridging Loan – short-term loan attracting high interest and secured on the new property.

Britannia metal – An alloy of tin, antimony and copper, used during the 19th century as a substitute for pewter.

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Cabrlole leg – A furniture leg in the shape of an elongated ‘S’ .

Carriage clock – A small portable clock with a carrying handle.

Case furniture – Furniture intended as a receptacle, such as a chest of drawers.

Caveat Emptor – let the buyer beware!

Chasing – A method of decorating silver and other metals by creating a raised pattern using a hammer or punch; also known as embossing.

Clean – A piece that has no flaws. However, be careful as in practice this sometimes means only visible ones.

Collector’s piece – Occasionally used to describe an item that is highly collectable, but more usually refers to a piece that is so weird only an eccentric collector would be interested in it.

Come right – Refers to a piece that a dealer has paid too much for, but implies that it will become a good investment.

Completion – Date at which purchase money will be handed over.

Contract – Legally binding settlement between purchaser and vendor.

Conveyance – To transfer ownership from one person to another.

Covenant – Restriction on use of the property.

Cornice – The projecting moulding at the top of tall furniture.

Creamware – Creamy-white earthenware.

Credenza – A long side-cabinet with glazed or solid doors.

Cut – Usually refers to a piece of furniture that has been cut down to make it smaller and therefore more saleable and valuable. There’s an old saying in the trade – “every inch under three foot is worth another £100”.

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Davenport – A small writing desk with a sloped top above a case of drawers.

Deeds – Documents proving ownership.

Decorator’s piece – Usually a disparaging term used to describe a piece that has little intrinsic value or artistic merit, but is currently fashionable among interior decorators and designers who may well be prepared to pay over-the-odds for it knowing they can, in turn, charge one of their clients a hefty sum.

Delftware – Tin-glazed earthenware from England or the Low Countries. Dial -The “face” of a clock, which shows the time.

Disbursement – payments for services carried out by a solicitor on behalf of client.

Distressed – A term used to describe an object that has been artificially aged.

Doesn’t leave much – A dealer’s response when told the price of something by another dealer and implying that it is too high and, therefore, would not enable him or her to make a worthwhile profit on a subsequent sale of said item.

Drum Table – A Circular-topped table with a frieze containing drawers and supported by a central pedestal.

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Easement – Right of way over property and/or land.

Ebonized – Stained black in imitation of ebony.

Endowment – Insurance which pays a guaranteed sum at the end of a set period with life cover in the meantime.

Epitome – Same as Abstract of Title (a copy of part of the deed showing ownership).

Executor – Person or authority appointed under terms of a will to ensure that the provisions of the will are adhered to.

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Flatback – Ceramic portrait figures with flat, undecorated backs, designed to stand against a wall or on a mantelpiece.

Flatware – Any flat or shallow tableware, such as plates or serving dishes.

Flyer – An advertising poster or leaflet.

Freehold – Outright ownership.

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Gear – A sundry collection of pieces for sale – bent gear means that they have been stolen.

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Hallmark – The marks stamped on silver or gold objects when passed at assay (the test for quality).

Honest – Refers to a totally genuine if unpretentious piece, but be wary if it is used – coming from the unscrupulous it can mean exactly the opposite.

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Imarl – A type of Japanese porcelain with opulent decoration inspired by brocade designs, exported through the port of Imari.

Intestate – a person who dies without a Will or whose will is invalid.

Intaglio – Incised gemstone or any incised decoration; the opposite of carving in relief. Jacobite glass – Wine glasses engraved with symbols of the Jacobites (supporters of Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s claim to the throne).

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Japanning – European imitation of Oriental lacquer.

Jasperware – A hard fine-grained stoneware decorated with high relief medallions, developed by Wedgwood.

Jockey – An adviser or courier employed by a foreign buyer to accompany him or her on buying trips around antiques shops.

Joined – Term used to describe furniture made by a joiner.

Judge of Roup – Scottish auctioneer (pronounced as rope).

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Kellm – A flat woven rug with no pile.

Kitsch – Over-decorated and vulgar pieces that appeal to popular bad taste; always a derogatory term.

Kosher – A totally genuine piece that looks and is right.

Kneehole desk – A writing desk with drawers on either side and a central recess for the user’s legs.

Knock-down – Moment of sale or when the hammer falls.

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Leasehold – Use of land or buildings for a finite term.

Land Register – The central register of ownership.

Ladder back – A country chair with a back made from a series of horizontal bars between the two vertical uprights. Lapjoint – In silverware, the technique used to join a spoon finial to the stem by cutting each piece in opposing L-shapes.

Library table – A rectangular table with frieze drawers, end supports and a central stretcher.

Limit of Preference and Enactment – witness signing of agreement purchase.

Linen chest – A hybrid coffer/chest of drawers, which may have both drawers and a lift-up top.

Loaded – In silverware, a hollow object (often a candlestick) which has been filled with pitch to give weight.

Lock – The firing mechanism of a gun.

Long arm – A firearm with a long barrel.

Longcase clock – A tall clock with a case containing weights and pendulum and hood housing dial and movement.

Lowboy – A small dressing table, often with a single frieze drawer flanked by a deeper drawer.

Lump – A particularly large and heavy piece of furniture that is difficult to move.

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Maiollca – Tin-glazed earthenwares from Italy.

Majolica – Enamelled stoneware with high relief decoration developed by Minton in the 19th century.

Marquetry – Design formed from veneers of different coloured woods.

Marriage – The joining together of two previously unrelated parts to form a whole.

Monteith – Large silver bowl, with a shallow scalloped rim.

Mother-of-pearl – Slices of shell often used for decorative inlay.

Motif – A decorative detail, often repeated to form a pattern.

Mortgage – Loan subject to interest secured on a property.

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Nallsea – A factory near Bristol famous for novelty glass objects.

No trade left in it – Refers to a piece that has changed hands among dealers to such an extent that the only way to get rid of it now (and make a profit) is to sell to a retail customer.

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Occasional table – Small, easily portable table.

Off the wall – An auctioneer’s technique, which is perfectly legal, for taking fictitious bids from the wall in order to raise the bidding to the level of the vendor’s reserve. In the ‘rooms’ (the leading London auction houses) this is also known as ‘off the chandelier’.

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Pad foot – On furniture, a rounded foot, resembling that of an animal.

Parcel gilt – Wood that has been partly gilded.

Parquetry – Decorative veneers of wood laid in a geometric pattern.

PIC Icon – A PIC icon indicates that the seller has included a picture of the item for sale on the item information page. Pictures can help you to judge the quality of the item for sale.

Picture Hosting – If you have pictures in your listings, they must be stored somewhere on the Web, accessible through their own unique URL (or web address). You scan and upload the picture to your server then, enter the URL of the picture when you create the auction. You can also upload one of your pictures to Auctions when you post your item.

Post – The act of publishing a listing to an online site.

Proxy Bidding – Placing a maximum bid, which is held in confidence. Auctions will use only as much of the maximum bid as is necessary to maintain the bidder’s high bid position.

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Ratings and Feedback – Some online auctions make it possible to offer feedback on both sellers and buyers. This allows the whole auction community to know if a participant has had a positive or negative experience with another member. Members may offer feedback in the form of a number rating as well as a verbal comments from the User Feedback Page.

Registration Agreement – The registration agreement outlines the terms of use for auctions . All registered users must agree to these terms before they can place an online bid.

Registered Auction Member – A person who has registered as a member of auctions .auctions requires the registration of valid contact information prior to buying and selling. Registering is free at most online auctions . All your information is private.

Re-listing – The re-listing of an item by a seller after it has not received any bids or met its reserve price. Re-listing on auctions is free of charge.

Reserve Not Met – Reserve not met means that no one has yet bid as much as the minimum price that the seller will accept.

Reserve Price – The minimum price a seller will accept for an item to be sold during a Reserve Price Auction. This amount is never formally disclosed.

Reserve Icon – A Reserve icon indicates an item that has a reserve price.

Reserve Price Auction – In a Reserve Price Auction, the seller has the option of setting a Reserve Price, below which the listing will not sell. The Reserve Price is higher than the Opening Bid amount. If the seller has set a Reserve Price you will see either “reserve not met” or “reserve met” depending on whether the current bid price is above or below this.

Retaliatory Feedback – The term for retaliatory negative feedback, posted by one member in response to another’s negative feedback.

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S&H Charges – Shipping and handling charges relating to the sale of an item.

Shill Bidding – The deliberate placing of bids to artificially drive up the price of an item. This is also know as “bid padding” and is not allowed.

Sniping – Outbidding other buyers in the closing minutes or seconds of an auction. This is a perfectly legitimate and sensible tactic for buyers who spot something they’re interested in, but don’t want to prematurely up the price early in the auction. They wait, then pounce at the last minute. You shouldn’t be upset if there isn’t much action on your listing in the first days. On the last day, in the last hour, and in the last seconds, there could be a lot of activity and rapid escalation to the final winning bid.

Starting Price – The mandatory starting bid for a given auction, set by the seller at the time of listing. [Same as Minimum Opening Bid.]

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Terms and Conditions – A legally binding agreement that outlines The Fee Auction ‘s operating policies. All registered members must agree to abide by these terms and conditions when using the service.

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URL – A Uniform Resource Locator is a way of specifying a resource, i.e., an Internet address. Every electronic document that is accessible via the Internet has a unique URL. A URL consists of a protocol name, a colon (:), two forward slashes (//), a domain name, and a path to a resource (using / as a separator). For example, the auctions home page can be found at http://www.governmentauctionsuk.com.

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Virus – A program which replicates itself on computer systems by incorporating itself into other programs that are shared among computer systems.

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Wildcard or *.* : A character string that is used in text searches to make finding a match easier. An asterisk (*) usually means find any character or set of characters.

World Wide Web – You’re in it! — the system by which you are viewing this document right now! Technically it is a global (Worldwide) hypertext system that uses the Internet as it’s transport mechanism. In a hypertext system, you navigate by clicking hyperlinks, which display another document which also contains hyperlinks.

WYSIWYG – An acronym for “What You See is What You Get”. What you see in your document in a

WYSIWYG HTML editor is pretty much what you’ll see when you review the resulting HTML file on the Web in your browser. The HTML code stays hidden beneath the page you create.

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If you can think of a legitimate on-line auction term thats starts with x,y or z Let Us Know!