When we use the term “Government Auction” we mean those auctioneers and agents which primarily deal with the stock that needs to be liquidated by various government bodies, for example: HM Customs & Excise, the Official Receiver, receivers in general, HM Collector of Taxes , the Ministry of Defence, the Home Office, local councils and authorities, liquidators, trustees, executors, the Sheriff, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of the Environment, the National Health Service, Bailiffs, police, various lost property departments and so on.
HM Customs & Excise may be entering at auction various items seized from smugglers, fraudsters and racketeers. On the other hand executors, for example, will be entering the assets of individuals who have perhaps died in testate (i.e. without leaving a will) or in debt. The official receiver will usually handle bankrupt stock from companies that have gone under and the bailiffs will handle goods that have been confiscated through non-payment of bills and repossessions by finance companies.
Some auctions handle the goods from liquidators and HM Collectors of Taxes, while others handle goods solely from official receivers. In the latter cases, they are called bonded agents. But the best part is that many of these auction bargains are sold with NO RESERVE or unreserved. Basically, whatever the highest bid is the sale price, so if you’re the only one bidding you’ll really be getting an auction bargain.
It has to be said that in fairness, unreserved sales are often well advertised so you will have competition, but there are always great deals to be had if you follow all the advice given in this guide.
Auctioneers normally act as agents for the selling of goods from all sorts of different organisations within a specific area. An auction house at the centre of London for example, will deal with the assets of companies whose bankruptcy proceedings are being dealt with by courts in Greater London. An auction in Leeds will handle the assets of companies in Yorkshire that are being dealt with by Leeds City Court.
By far the most interesting types of auctioneers are those who handle the goods seized by HM Customs & Excise. Here you can find all sorts of odd items passing through their hands – houses, boats, planes, cars and so on, some of which have been used for smuggling contraband. In the vast majority of cases, there is absolutely nothing wrong with these items at all. Some may have been stripped, when the Excise men have been looking for drugs, but mostly they are in perfect working order and in one piece.
Auction-goers living in London and the South East generally have the greatest range of goods and the lowest selection of prices. In London and South East areas generally there is a greater quantity of businesses starting up and going bust than in other areas and the type of business is generally more varied.
There are also a greater number of outlets prepared to handle second-hand goods. But generally all over the country there are phenomenal bargains to be found at auctions. Remember, an auction in one area offers goods that cannot be found in another. For example, you are very unlikely to find the contents of Ships’ Chandlers being offered at auction in Warwickshire or the City of London as you are to find the stock of a bankrupt tartan cloth manufacturer in Somerset.
Saying that you can find almost anything at an auction is an understatement. If you visit them often I enough and visit a wide enough selection of auctions in different locations you will find pretty well anything you want for your business, office or home. However, the most common source of items can be classified as office equipment.
Whether you are a factory making cardboard boxes or a shop selling watches or whether you are in the manufacturing or service sector, almost all companies in business need some form of office equipment. Also, whenever a company goes bust or is being wound up, often the final items that are left over to be sent for auction include the office equipment.
So, if you are contemplating starting your own business or simply updating your old equipment, an auction should be your first port of call. Why spend literally thousands of pounds for goods that can be bought for a fraction of the price at auction?