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How does an auction work?

For step-by-step instructions on how auctions work at 1stDibs, visit our Auctions FAQ page here.

In essence, for an auction, the gallery or seller will set a reserve price for an item. Once the first bid is placed at the reserve price or higher, the auction begins and lasts for seven days. If an item is not sold at the end of those seven days, the seller may choose to relist it for auction. Curious to see what treasures are currently on the auction block? All items available for auction can be found here.

Requirements to Bid

1stDibs auctions are open to design lovers around the world. You’re simply required to have an account on 1stDibs and a valid credit card or Paypal account saved to your profile before bidding. Learn more about our full auction terms here.

How to Bid

After you’ve identified the item you’d like to bid on, enter a bid amount that is greater than or equal to the next minimum bid on the item page. Then select the option to Place Bid. Alternatively, you can enter a “max” bid and will then automatically bid for you at the next increment up to that amount. We will then send you an email to confirm receipt of your bid.

You will not be charged to place a bid. You will only be charged if you end up winning the auction. If you do win the auction, you will have the chance to edit your payment method at checkout, which is when you will be charged. By placing a bid, you agree to our User Terms and commit to purchasing the item if you win the auction.

  • Maximum Bid

    If you enter a bid that is higher than the next minimum bid, that amount is considered to be your maximum bid — but it is not necessarily the price you will pay. It is possible that you will pay a lesser amount depending upon how much other interested parties are bidding. Our system will place bids on your behalf according to our automatic bidding increments, up to (but not exceeding) your maximum bid. This is to ensure you remain the highest bidder.
  • Bidding Increments

    Our automatic bidding increments will decide the minimum bid that must be placed. Each bidding increment is based on the placed bids and increases according to these intervals.

    Min Max Increment
    1 499 25
    500 999 50
    1,000 1,999 100
    2,000 4,999 200
    5,000 9,999 500
    10,000 19,999


    20,000 49,999


    50,000 99,999


    100,000 -


    All bidding increments are in USD, regardless of the item’s original currency or the preferred currency set in your profile. The USD minimum next bid amount will be converted to all other currencies.

  • Reserves

    Certain items available at auction may have a reserve price. This refers to the minimum price the item can be sold for and is determined by the seller. If an item has a set reserve price, 1stDibs can place bids on your behalf, up to the amount of the reserve. If you bid on an item with a reserve, and your max bid reaches or exceeds the reserve, your bid will be continuously increased to meet this reserve.
  • Buy it Now

    In some instances, you can purchase an item at a set price using the Buy It Now option. Items will have a Buy It Now option as well as a Bid option. Items that have a Buy It Now feature will be available until the starting bid is met. If an item is ordered using the Buy It Now feature, we will remove it from the auction once the purchase is completed.
  • Sniping

    If a bid is placed within five minutes of the auction item’s closing time (a practice referred to as “sniping”), five additional minutes will be added to the designated closing time for that item to ensure fairness throughout the auction process.
  • Winning an Auction

    If you are the highest bidder and the reserve has been met when the auction ends, we will send you an email notifying you that you’re the winner. Congratulations! You will then have seven days to confirm your payment and review the shipping rate. This can be completed on your order page.
  • Shipping

    You are responsible for all shipping costs. In some cases, a shipping quote will be available prior to bidding. If one is not provided, you will be able to request a shipping quote through your order page once you’ve won the auction.
  • Return Policy

    Each item’s return policy is set by the seller. We recommend viewing the seller’s return policy prior to placing a bid. Learn more about the Return Policy here.
  • Buyer Protection

    1stDibs is committed to your satisfaction and peace of mind with every auction purchase. Your purchase is eligible for Buyer Protection as part of the 1stDibs Promise. To learn more about our Buyer Protection Policy, read more here.
  • Buyer’s Premium

    In auctions, the buyer’s premium is a charge the winning bidder must pay in addition to the item's purchase price. 1stDibs does NOT charge a buyer’s premium.
  • Won Auction - Payment Abandonment

    1stDibs strives to provide a fair and transparent platform for both buying and selling items. As such, we expect all customers to adhere to our policies and complete their purchases promptly after winning an auction. We’ve implemented the following policy to ensure that buyers meet their obligation to complete their purchase promptly for each auction they win. (Please see our Auction FAQs and Auction Terms for details on your obligations when you win an auction.)

    All bidders must complete the checkout process of their successful bids promptly after the auction has ended. If you fail to complete your purchase after winning an auction twice, your account will be permanently suspended from bidding on any future auctions.

    We understand that in rare instances, there may be unforeseen circumstances that prevent a customer from completing a purchase. In such cases, we encourage you to reach out to us to explain your situation, and our team will try to find a solution that is fair for both parties. However, we retain the right in our sole discretion to treat this as an incomplete purchase.

    Failure to complete a purchase on an auction you won is unfair to other bidders and to the seller, and we trust that our customers understand the importance of completing your purchases promptly to avoid such situations.

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