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Beware of Milestone Auctions for your militaria needs


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Had an awful experience with them today. If you are going to use multiple online platforms, at least make sure they work correct. I bid on lot 0205 for the auction on 5/9/2020 on liveauctioneers.com for an M1 helmet and liner. A fair warning alert showed up after my initial bid, someone else bid on it. A second fair warning alert never showed up like every other item after they bid. As soon as I submitted a high bid it said lot sold to bidder XXX or whatever the specific verbiage is. This can be verified in their auction log. I called immediately after lot close and was told to call back and ask for the owner Miles King. I called an hour and a half later and spoke to the floor manager. I waited 20 minutes for the manager and I could hear Mr. King complaining in the background that he didn't want to deal with my call. Manager finally gets on the phone, just to be told once a lot is closed nothing can be done, even though in their terms and conditions it says "The auctioneer alone has the right to reopen the bidding of an item if deemed necessary due to a dispute.". Obviously isn't true. So if you want to lose money and business by lying about your policies, that's the way to do it.Untitled.jpg.6ccf8c62859ebe220935e0d230f09bde.jpg
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Have dealt with Liveauctioneers many times and have had my bid not register. It is not the auctions fault it is the program liveauctioneers uses.

I have seen a few times where I thought my bid won, only to find out later the item sold to someone there in person.

Now I don't screw around and hesitate placing my bids, once the item opens I keep bidding until I reach my limit. Haven't had a problem since.

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That may be so, but as the auction house they need to honor their terms. This clearly fell into dispute territory because of a technical issue with a platform THEY decided to use. They can take their 20% buyer fee and shove it.

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Bidding early is really the best way to handle any online auction.

You never know what technical difficulties can pop up in the last moments.

In the auction world the auctioneer can do what they want.

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Agree with the others.

Also, I don't see it as a case of them not honoring their terms.  "The AUCTIONEER ALONE (not you) has the right to reopen the bidding of an item IF DEEMED NECESSARY due to a dispute."

Based on the auctioneer's response to you he didn't deem it was necessary!

Too bad it didn't work for you, but get over it and get the next one.

Scott

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22 minutes ago, akriener said:

It's more about them saying they can't, when they actually can. Not necessarily that they wouldn't. 

Actually they can't. The auction closed. If they reopened the auction all the bidders are gone. What this means is that someone else bid and won and you want to reopen the bidding and bid over that guy and take the lot away from him. I don't think that is right. I think Milestone did the right thing. Usually reopening of the bidding takes place immediately after it closes and it is caused by an error. Usually, someone on one of the computers clicked the wrong button. 

I think everyone needs to take a step back and realize how the system actually operates. Bob may be right, liveauctioneers may have software issues, but I am not aware of them. However, there is not one single platform that these auctions are run through. Many auction houses use liveauctions, auctionzip, proxibid and their own site. There may be more sites too, but for the sake of what I am saying is that every bid must be manually entered by an individual across all the platforms. Every auction I have seen has one person per auction site on a computer doing all the work for that site. They relay that information to the floor auctioneer. 

For example:
If someone bids $10 on liveauctioneers the auction house's liveauctioneer floor representative bids to the floor. Then if a floor bidder bids $15 then the representative has to manually insert $15 back into liveauctioneers. Another representative must enter it into proxibid, another into auctionzip and so on. The same applies to going once going twice notifications. Some auctioneers purposefully slow the auction because of this.

I have seen numerous occasions where there are errors on the floor, trouble communicating, even ties in bidding. The system is the best system we have and I doubt one system could be designed to encompass all the sites. I generally think the auction house did the best that they could and it should be left at that. 

Towards the OP,  I am not aware of the specific lot up for discussion, but it was described as an M1 helmet. This is a relatively common artifact and can be located any day of the week from any number of sources for any number of different prices. In short it is relatively common and readily available. I would not lose any sleep on this one.

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Well actually, they can as per THEIR terms. It literally says it, in the screenshot. The winning bidder was also an internet buyer so really it doesn't matter if it closed in this case. Contact us both separately. If they want to use a platform, they need to take some responsibility. Internet auctions have been around for the better part of 25 years. There should be processes in place for situations like these. Literally not my :)in' fault the guy wouldn't accept a call the first time, immediately after it ended and he wasn't even the auctioneer. He was just there running operations. It was a front seam fixed bail with complete liner. So yes, while they are "common" I would have rather won it for $300 than pay some of the exorbitant prices dealers and some other collectors ask.

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I think you are misinterpreting their terms. My reading of the terms is very different. Even if we agreed on what the terms said, the reopening of the bidding is at their discretion. Their prerogative was not to reopen the bidding. Furthermore, I just checked lot 205. Its a fixed bail, raised brass buckle with what looks like a light field repaint and heavy use. The liner has no sweatband, no nape, black A washers. Liner wear does not seem to match the shell. Leather chinstrap looks to be one of the 1960s black buckles. No name. No insignia. Nothing special. Sale price of $260 + 20% BP + Postage. Grand total at least $320. Not a bargain by any means. I understand the difficultly in losing an item you wanted. I have lost plenty. Others too. There will be plenty more of these. Again, nothing to lose sleep over. 

California

 

"Only 2 defining forces have ever offered to die for you....Jesus Christ and the American Soldier.

One died for your soul, the other for your freedom."

 

-Lt. Col. Grant L. Rosensteel, Jr.

USAF

 

''A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have.'' Gerald Ford

 

"Those who melt their guns into plows will plow for those who don't." Thomas Jefferson

 

"I live in weirdville." Owen

 

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Hi Everyone,  I don't have a dog in this fight either way, so I am not taking any sides, all I would like to offer is my experiences as a seller . . . . . 

I had a two day auction in both 2018 & 2019, I attended each day of the auctions, on the first day of these auction I sat in the room  and watched the on-line bidding on a large screen. The auctioneer acted correctly and offered the first and a second fair warning statements, then myself and friends witnessed several bids appear on screen after the hammer went down. We saw anything between a euro and fifty euros come in after the hammer, being the seller yes I wanted these missed bids, and so does the auction house, it also affects their commission on the items.   Now who is to say when these bids were made due to internet delay, prospective buyers may have had a delay of the fair warning arriving with their computers, by the time they have bid again the hammer has already gone down but again this hasn't arrived on their screens. 

I would suggest to users of the internet for auction bids that they forget that last second bid which became so popular with eBay bidders, in the real world allow for the fact that your connection may not be working in true time with the auctioneer. Only this week a text I sent someone arrived fourteen hours later the next morning at 05.20 am, they live a ten minute car drive away . . . . . . . . . . .

regards lewis.   

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7 minutes ago, General Apathy said:

Hi Everyone,  I don't have a dog in this fight either way, so I am not taking any sides, all I would like to offer is my experiences as a seller . . . . . 

I had a two day auction in both 2018 & 2019, I attended each day of the auctions, on the first day of these auction I sat in the room  and watched the on-line bidding on a large screen. The auctioneer acted correctly and offered the first and a second fair warning statements, then myself and friends witnessed several bids appear on screen after the hammer went down. We saw anything between a euro and fifty euros come in after the hammer, being the seller yes I wanted these missed bids, and so does the auction house, it also affects their commission on the items.   Now who is to say when these bids were made due to internet delay, prospective buyers may have had a delay of the fair warning arriving with their computers, by the time they have bid again the hammer has already gone down but again this hasn't arrived on their screens. 

I would suggest to users of the internet for auction bids that they forget that last second bid which became so popular with eBay bidders, in the real world allow for the fact that your connection may not be working in true time with the auctioneer. Only this week a text I sent someone arrived fourteen hours later the next morning at 05.20 am, they live a ten minute car drive away . . . . . . . . . . .

regards lewis.   

I completely agree.  The very nature of online auctions has changed over the years.  20+ years ago, you could ‘sniping’ (last second bidding) was a thing.  Now, after decades of experience, both buyers and auction houses have gotten wise.  The only person a low winning bid helps is the buyer, and believe it or not, that is not who auctions are designed to benefit.  Vegas would not survive if the player won half of their wagers - odds favor the house, they have to.  The same holds true for auctions:  If they weren’t lucrative, or provided the perception that they were, nobody would use them.  

Bottom line, you played the game, and you lost.  I very seldom buy at auction, unless it is something really unique, as they (to me) represent the peak of prices.  That said, if I do decide I want something, I place the single highest bid that I am willing to pay.  And I do that as soon as I see the item - in the case of online auctions - whether there is an hour, day, or week left.  Back to the idea of last-second sniping, I believe that to be a dead art.

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last second snipping still happens on EBAY - I have been victim to it just yesterday - first bid by someone placed within the last 5 seconds.

But no last second sniping on Gunbroker as  they another 15 minutes to the auction if a bid is put in within the last 15 minutes and so on.

In my opinion - EBAY could make a lot more more if they followed the Gunbroker model 

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Let me say it differently, if you would have placed your absolute highest bid first, instead of waiting for “warnings” to increase it, the outcome may be different.  Whether or not you are trying to last-second bid, so nobody else has time to increase theirs, the fact remains the same:  You were willing to pay more than you originally bid, and was trying to get it for less.  Some argue that tactic works, other argue that the smaller / more frequent bids intensify competition, driving prices higher.  Honestly, it’s all speculative, because you can’t test the same auction both ways.

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16 hours ago, scottiques said:

Agree with the others.

Also, I don't see it as a case of them not honoring their terms.  "The AUCTIONEER ALONE (not you) has the right to reopen the bidding of an item IF DEEMED NECESSARY due to a dispute."

Based on the auctioneer's response to you he didn't deem it was necessary!

Too bad it didn't work for you, but get over it and get the next one.

Scott

Scott hit the nail on the head. The auctioneer CAN reopen bidding per the terms, but CHOSE not to. I see no point to doing so in this particular case, and in those occasions (twice ever) where I have heard of an auctioneer exercising such right are both extremely rare and usually something egregiously caused by the fault of the auctioneer. I think it's important to note that such a term of an auction is listed more so to allow the auctioneer an extra right,  but not necessarily there to allow you as a bidder to request its use. 

Personally, I think it's in bad taste to discredit the auction company because of something beyond their control. I can't imagine any auction company, anywhere, reopening bidding after the auction ended based on your request. 

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Akriener,

Fist of all welcome to the forum. A lot of good information and advice floating around here. I have had problem from time to time with bidding on line but I think it has more to do if your connection is the problem. I have tried different form of bidding to including sniping. However, If I really want an item for my collection, I go big early on. Sometimes I win and sometimes I lose. I think the systems is pretty good and beats the heck out of driving there, lodging etc. And, it is a lot better than eBay in my humble opinion.

Best regards,

John

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36 minutes ago, BigJohn#3RD said:

Akriener,

Fist of all welcome to the forum. A lot of good information and advice floating around here. I have had problem from time to time with bidding on line but I think it has more to do if your connection is the problem. I have tried different form of bidding to including sniping. However, If I really want an item for my collection, I go big early on. Sometimes I win and sometimes I lose. I think the systems is pretty good and beats the heck out of driving there, lodging etc. And, it is a lot better than eBay in my humble opinion.

Best regards,

John

John,

Are you saying that online auctions in general are better than eBay?

I always go high right from the start if I really want something and from time to time go even higher if I’m outbid.

Waiting until the end sometimes works but many times refreshing the page after bidding takes too long and I loose.

Akreiner you will find a beautiful M1 for a reasonable price so don’t let this experience knock you off your square.

Sometimes a loss in the present is a set up for a win in the future.

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19 hours ago, Airborne-Hunter said:

I think you are misinterpreting their terms. My reading of the terms is very different. Even if we agreed on what the terms said, the reopening of the bidding is at their discretion. Their prerogative was not to reopen the bidding. Furthermore, I just checked lot 205. Its a fixed bail, raised brass buckle with what looks like a light field repaint and heavy use. The liner has no sweatband, no nape, black A washers. Liner wear does not seem to match the shell. Leather chinstrap looks to be one of the 1960s black buckles. No name. No insignia. Nothing special. Sale price of $260 + 20% BP + Postage. Grand total at least $320. Not a bargain by any means. I understand the difficultly in losing an item you wanted. I have lost plenty. Others too. There will be plenty more of these. Again, nothing to lose sleep over. 

 

sounds like a lot for a beat helmet (to me)....but it never ceases to amaze me how the bidders on line will pay more at an auction with buyers premium fees,shipping,charge card fee and at times a 3rd party shipper fee.seen auctions where this adds up to over 30-35 % extra.Where better helmets go unsold on the forum or buyers don't want to pay shipping or use the friend option on pay pal etc.. Same at shows.See items set unsold for less... ?

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I personally am not a fan of online auctions at all. These auctioneers have gone from the average fee of about 10% 5 to 7 years ago to 18 and 25% today!!! They have gotten so greedy and as I've stated in several posts here in the past they have become dumping grounds for CRAP that dealers know they cannot sell themselves, whether its a total fake or some type of humped up junk. I know the horse has already left the gate, but I long for the days of personal live auctions when you can look at the guy you are bidding against instead of wondering if the auctioneer has someone shill bidding every single lot that they feel is underpriced. Shill bidding has gotten to be rampant among these auction houses. Not only among the auction house itself, but also the guys who consign the items as well. Don't say this doesn't happen....that's like saying politicians don't lie.

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39 minutes ago, z19 said:

I personally am not a fan of online auctions at all. These auctioneers have gone from the average fee of about 10% 5 to 7 years ago to 18 and 25% today!!! They have gotten so greedy and as I've stated in several posts here in the past they have become dumping grounds for CRAP that dealers know they cannot sell themselves, whether its a total fake or some type of humped up junk. I know the horse has already left the gate, but I long for the days of personal live auctions when you can look at the guy you are bidding against instead of wondering if the auctioneer has someone shill bidding every single lot that they feel is underpriced. Shill bidding has gotten to be rampant among these auction houses. Not only among the auction house itself, but also the guys who consign the items as well. Don't say this doesn't happen....that's like saying politicians don't lie.

I am not a fanboy of online-only auctions, but if you total their fees end-to-end, they look pretty attractive compared to brick-and-mortar auction houses - even in the era of them having to charge sales tax.

I’ve seen physical auction houses charge more than 40% between buyer’s fee, seller’s fee, and so forth.  It’s to the point that I’ve stopped going to them. 

On your point about shilling, don’t assume that it’s not an issue when you are at an auction in-person.  Especially now, when many auction houses are also taking phone and internet bids, in addition to paddles in the room.  The last in-person militaria auction I went to was organized this way.  The majority of winning bids were via phone / internet - to the point that I was wondering why the heck I was sitting there.

As others have opined above, people will pay at auction WELL beyond what they will pay on the forum - no clue why.

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Auctions, on-line or brick-and-mortar, post their terms and conditions, including commissions and fees. (Third-party shipping is another matter, but that is usually mentioned). If you are surprised by the costs, that's on you.

I bid in a lot in European auctions. Before each one, I create a cheat-sheet that converts pounds or Euros to dollars, including all the fees and conversion rates. So, where the fees add 30%, my sheet shows $1 as $1.30. For US auctions, I do something similar simply to remind myself of the total cost.  That way an $800 bid won't surprise me when it appears on the invoice as $1040.

If the fees and costs are too high, don't bid!

Jeff Floyd

The universe is made up of neutrons, protons, electrons and morons

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