Have Gavel Will Travel

St. Louis Missouri Auction Services

Licensed Bonded and Insured

You’ve got questions, here are some answers.

What’s the difference between a tag sale or estate sale and auction?

I’m an auctioneer so I’m biased, you can research online and will find different schools of thoughts with merit for both methods to liquidate an estate. We at Have Gavel Will Travel, do not do yard sales, tag sales, or estate sales, it’s not our business model and not the industry we want to be in. We sell estates and collections through auctions. We efficiently bring an estate to the market, so we can do it at lower fees, bringing better net proceeds to you, our clients. At a typical auction we sell an entire household in hours, to people who come to buy, and at an auction, you will have everything of value sold at the end of the day.

What does an auction cost?

A great auction doesn’t cost it PAYS!

We get paid a percentage of the gross proceeds. At Have Gavel Will Travel for a “typical” auction our only fee is the percent of gross sales. There is no money “up-front”. All the costs of the auction is included in our percent. About a week after the sale you will receive a final settlement report, an itemized list of what items sold for and a check. This percentage is based on what and how much you have to auction. Each auction is different. Please see our blog for more info and an example.

We have a home that is jam-packed, what do we do?

The best case scenario is it is jam-packed with treasures. We have done pack rat houses, hoarders, collectors and they all vary. The best way to handle is to give Walt a call at 314-517-4013, he will meet with a family member or representative and decide the best course of action. Do not start by throwing stuff away. Many times overzealous family members throw away valuable items.

We are moving and want to auction off what we are not taking with us. Do you do moving or downsizing sales?

We do, the best course of action usually is move first, then have the sale after. In your mind, you have a good idea of what’s going and what is not, but sometimes we fit on paper doesn’t fit in the room. Move into your new place and get things settled, then let us sell the rest.

Do we need to clean out desks and closets before you get there in case there are personal items?

We make it a policy to save any personal items, any letters, any photos–anything at all that looks personal–so that the family can go through it later. Usually, we designate a closet for that purpose. Many times we find cash (sometimes hundreds of dollars), that is given to the family also. When people start “cleaning out” they often can’t identify the diamonds in the rough and throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Do you do reserves or minimum prices?

We will do a reserve, but if its a number I think is unachievable we will be honest and let you know. An occasional reserve is understandable, but auction goers came to buy and it undermines an auction to have things not sell.

I’ve heard of absentee bidding and phone bids. Do you do that?

We have done both, our preferred method is an email bid. Ultimately 99% times the item sells to a bidder in the room, online bidders and phone bidders only see a picture and a blurb. People who seriously collect or want to buy something want to touch, and see an item for their selves or have a trusted agent verify an item. So the short answer is we do.

There’s a lot of jewelry and I don’t know if it’s good or not. What should I do?

All jewelry is good, whether it is costume or fine gold and silver. We go through the jewelry and separate out the fine from the costume. If we miss something, the customers usually find it and bid accordingly. We organize the costume jewelry into lots that will sell. Gold and silver are selling extremely well at auction and is a good draw for your auction.

How do you advertise for my auction?

We utilize auctionzip.com, our Facebook page, Estatesales.org, Estatesales.net, GotoAuction.com, yard signage, word of mouth, our email list, and our network of contacts from our years in business and friends. We occasionally utilize sale bills or newspaper ads, but the return for the cost has not been the same as it was in years past.

How soon do I need to contact you if I think I need an auction?

The sooner the better, we have done auctions in as little as 3 days, but for a truly effective advertising and set up we need at least two weeks, with three to four being ideal.

What’s the best day of the week and the best time of the year to have an auction?

Many times clients feel Saturday is the best day to have an auction, sometimes it is, BUT many other auctions occur on Saturdays so we usually reserve those for our bigger sales. Most of our good auctions occur during the week. Many self employed and service industry workers work on weekends, many retired people and collectors have family obligations on weekends. Some of the biggest sales we have done have been Mondays, when I was shoveling the snow off the sidewalks the night before. Anytime of year is a good time for an auction, competitive buyers will come out to buy great items.

What about items left after the sale?

We try and sell everything the day of the sale, often there are items left over. We generally try to tidy up the day after the sale. Any items left are typically items are of little or no value. We can arrange to have a crew remove the balance and donate after the sale if you would like.

Auction Terms

List of terms and phrases used by auctioneers and auction attendees


Absolute without reserve

As-Is Items old with no warranty or guarantee they are sold as is where is

Auction Public sale where goods are sold to the highest bidder


Bid Caller aka Auctioneer

Box Lots Lots of low value or like items sold together as a lot. Often in beer flats

Buyers Premium a % charged by Auction Company to final or hammer price


Chant or Cry Auctioneers song

Clerk Employee of auction company who logs who bought what

Consignment Auction Auction that has multiple sellers who bring merchandise

Choice multiple similar items, high bidder chooses one or more at that price.


Digging rights Selling large lots with expectation buyers take what they want.


Estate Auction Auction of personal property to settle the estate after owner’s death.


Fluff Terms of endearment that have no value used by the auctioneer. Best, cleanest, most unique, greatest example of, ect


Hammer Price Final bid price

Highline auctions a car auction term reserved for high-end luxury cars.


Market Value What an item is worth today.


Preview inspection time allotted before the auction to inspect items.


Ringman Employee of the auction house describes what is being sold and catches bids

Rubbish Large lots of little or no value


Shill Bidder Fake bidder in the audience trying to drive price.


Times the money multiple items sold together charged times the money. Ex 6 chairs times the money is 6 X $5 = $30


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