For FAQs, please scroll to the bottom of the page.

Auctions are an exciting and dynamic way to prompt the collection of artworks on SuperRare.

In addition to being able to set a "Buy Now" list price and receive open-ended offers, you can run Scheduled Auctions that start and end at a specific time, or Reserve Auctions, which kick-off when a specified reserve price is met.

These two different frameworks add much-needed context and structure. The goal of auctions is to make the bidding and selling process easier and more productive for both artists and collectors, while also adding an exciting element to the collecting process as well.

How do Auctions Work

There are two types of auctions on SuperRare: Scheduled Auctions and Reserve Auctions, each detailed below.

Sellers will still be able to set "Buy Now" list prices at which collectors can simply buy their artwork at any time.

Artworks can still receive open offers if they’re not under auction, but note that there is a difference between bids and offers:

  • Bids are offers that are made within an active auction.

  • Offers are open-ended offers that collectors can make on any piece that is not under auction. An offer is essentially a collector saying, "Hey, you may not be intending to sell this work, but in case you are, here's my offer for it."

Artworks that are counting down to the start of a Scheduled Auction are not available for making offers.

Scheduled Auctions

In a Scheduled Auction, the seller of an artwork chooses three parameters:

  • Start date & time

  • End date & time

  • Starting bid price (optional)

The length of a scheduled auction can be set for between 1-7 days.

When an auction is scheduled, a countdown timer appears on the artwork indicating when bidding will start.

At the start of the auction, a countdown timer is started, indicating the time remaining.

Bidding is available at amounts equal to or higher than the starting bid price. Bids placed during an auction cannot be canceled. If a bidder is outbid, their bid is returned.

If a bid is placed within the last 15 minutes of an auction, the auction time is extended by 15 minutes from the time of the bid.

The highest bid at the end of the auction wins the auction.

Scheduled Auctions Step by Step – Seller’s perspective:

  1. Configure and save auction parameters: start time, end time, and (optionally) starting bid price (ETH)

  2. Once the auction is configured, the artwork will display a timer counting down to the auction start. No bids can be placed during this time. Your followers are notified of the Scheduled Auction.

  3. Auction starts at scheduled time and now displays a timer counting down to the auction end. Bidding is available for bids that at least match the starting bid price (if one was specified).

  4. You receive notifications as bids are placed. If a bid is placed within the last 15 minutes of an auction, the auction time is extended to 15 minutes after the time of the bid.

  5. At the end of the auction, it closes automatically. You and the buyer are notified that it needs to be settled.

  6. If the buyer doesn't do it first, you can settle the auction via your notifications page or via your Dashboard. The ETH and artwork will then change hands.

Scheduled Auctions Step by Step – Buyer’s perspective:

  1. You will be notified that an artist or collector you follow has scheduled an upcoming auction. Bids are not available on the work until the auction starts, nor is it open to offers during this interim.

  2. At the time of the auction start, the work is available for bidding. If the seller has set a starting bid price, your bid must meet or exceed it.

  3. If you get outbid, your funds will be returned immediately and you can place a higher bid.

  4. If a bid is placed within the last 15 minutes of an auction, the auction time is extended to 15 minutes after the time of the bid.

  5. At the end of the auction, it closes automatically. You and the seller are notified that it needs to be settled.

  6. If the seller doesn't do it first, you can settle the auction via your notifications page or your Dashboard. The ETH and artwork will then change hands.

Reserve Auctions

When setting up a Reserve Auction, the seller of an artwork chooses a public reserve price which, when met, kicks off the timed auction.

Reserve Auctions don’t have a scheduled start time. Instead, the artwork has an indicator that a reserve price is set, and is available for bidding starting at the reserve price.

The first bid must be at least the reserve price. When the Reserve Price is met by the first bid, the auction is triggered and the timer starts a 24-hour countdown to the end of the auction.

Bids placed during an active timed auction cannot be canceled. If a bidder is outbid, their bid is returned.

If a bid is placed within the last 15 minutes of an auction, the auction time is extended by 15 minutes.

The high bid at the end of the auction wins the auction.

Reserve Auctions Step by Step – Seller’s perspective:

  1. Configure the public Reserve Price in ETH. If there is a standing open offer on the artwork, your reserve price must exceed it.

  2. Your followers are notified of the Reserve Auction. The artwork now displays an indicator that a Reserve Auction is set and displays the Reserve Price. The artwork is available for bids starting at the reserve price.

  3. When a bid is placed that meets or exceeds your Reserve Price the auction is triggered, starting a 24-hour countdown to the end of the auction.

  4. Your followers are notified of the timed auction kickoff and bidding is available until the end of the auction.

  5. You get notified as bids are placed. If a bid is placed within the last 15 minutes of an auction, the auction time is extended to 15 minutes after the time of the bid.

  6. At the end of the auction, it closes automatically and notifies you and the buyer that it needs to be settled.

  7. If the buyer doesn't do it first, you can settle the auction via your notifications page or via the artwork card 3-dot menu. The ETH and artwork will then change hands.

Reserve Auctions Step by Step– Buyer’s perspective:

  1. You will be notified that an artist or collector you follow has set up a Reserve Auction on an artwork with a specified Reserve Price.

  2. The artwork has an indicator that it has a Reserve Auction set with a Reserve Price.

  3. You cannot bid beneath the Reserve Price.

  4. If you place a bid that meets or exceeds the seller’s reserve price, the auction is triggered, starting a 24-hour countdown to the end of the auction.

  5. If a bid is placed within the last 15 minutes of an auction, the auction time is extended to 15 minutes after the time of the bid.

  6. At the end of the auction, it closes automatically and notifies you and the seller that it needs to be settled.

  7. If the seller doesn't do it first, you can settle the auction via your notifications page. The ETH and artwork will then change hands.

Timing Auctions on the Ethereum Blockchain

SuperRare Auctions are run and settled directly on Ethereum, and are therefore based on block time, not conventional time.

The countdown timers in the UI are an approximation based on the average block completion time of the Ethereum blockchain. Participants should get their bids in as early as possible to ensure that they are processed by the Auction smart contract before the close of the Auction.

FAQs

Q: My offer/bid should have been returned to me, but I'm not seeing it. Help!

A: You can validate that your funds have been returned by viewing your ETH addresses' activity on Etherscan, specifically under "internal txns".

This is the tab in which you can see funds sent to your wallet by the function of a smart contract (i.e. the encoded protocols that program the auction).

Step 1) Enter your ETH address into their search bar of Etherscan and press enter. This will take you to a list of all transactions you recently initiated. In the "Overview" window, you should see a calculation of all the ETH currently held by this address next to "Value".

Step 2) To see funds that are returned by transactions that are not your own (i.e. being outbid), click the "Internal Txns" tab. Here, you will see the blockchain's record of your funds being returned to your wallet.

Please note, most wallets do not show "internal txn" deposits in their activity feed. It is always best to reference Etherscan for a complete picture of your ETH transactions.

Q: Can an artwork have a Buy Now price while under auction, or counting down to a Scheduled Auction?

A: No, Buy Now prices will be hidden from the UI as soon as an auction is configured.

Q: Is an artwork available for offers if it is counting down to a Scheduled Auction?

A: No. If an artwork has a Scheduled Auction, offers are closed until the auction bidding starts.

Q: Can bids placed in an auction be withdrawn?

A: No, bids placed in an auction cannot be withdrawn for the duration of the auction. If a bid is outbid, it will be returned automatically.

Q: Can open offers still be withdrawn outside of auctions?

A: Yes, offers can always be withdrawn from within your Dashboard. Click on your profile icon in the upper-right corner of the site, select "Dashboard", then scroll down to see all of your existing offers.

Q: What if I have an open offer on an artwork and the owner sets up a Scheduled Auction or Reserve Auction on it – can I withdraw my offer?

A: Yes, you can do so from your Dashboard. Click on your profile icon in the upper-right corner of the site, select "dashboard", then scroll down to see all of your existing offers.

Q: Can auctions be canceled?

A: Scheduled Auctions can be canceled before they begin. Reserve Auctions can be canceled before the timed auction has been kicked off. If a timed auction in a Scheduled or Reserve Auction has begun, it cannot be canceled.

Q: Can I set up an auction if a piece has an existing offer?

A: Yes, but the existing offer will be hidden from the UI as soon as the auction is configured. The person with the existing offer will be able to withdraw it, even during the auction.

Q: Can I change the reserve price of my reserve auction once it's set?

A: No. You must cancel the auction and start a new one. It's slightly inconvenient, but changing that price requires a fundamental change of how the auction's smart contract will be set up.

Have any additional questions? Let us know and we’ll add them!

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