How to bid

Bidding with Wright is secure and simple. Outlined below are the five ways to bid at auction and how to register. Whether by e-mail, phone or fax, you can contact us easily to participate in an auction. By registering to bid in an auction, you agree that you have read and you hereby accept the terms of sale.

There are five ways to bid at auction, a complete description of each follows.


When bidding by phone, Wright will call you during the sale just before your specified lots are to be auctioned. This enables you to bid live, with the Wright phone representative acting as a liaison between you and the auctioneer. You will be bidding in real time, as if you were in the auction room itself. Because it is live, you do not have to reveal, or determine, your maximum bid until you are bidding.

Why phone bid? If you are unable to attend the auction, this method allows you to bid most competitively. You can go head-to-head with other floor or phone bidders, giving you the most control over your bidding activity.

Please Note: Phone bidding is not available for online auctions or Mass Modern lots valued lower than $500.


Absentee bids — also referred to as left, order or commission bids — allow you to place a maximum bid amount on individual lots. During the sale, Wright will bid on your behalf up to that amount, making every attempt to secure the lot at the most competitive price.

Why absentee bid? Absentee bidding allows you to participate in the auction even if you are unavailable on the day of sale.

Phone and Absentee

You can arrange for a combination of both phone and absentee bidding, giving you flexibility and security in executing your bids.

Wright will first try to reach you via phone, calling all numbers on your registration form. If we successfully reach you, you will bid live with the Wright representative; your live, phone bid will override the maximum bid.

If we are unable to reach you, we will execute your maximum bid on your behalf as we would a traditional absentee bid.

Why bid with a combination phone/absentee bid? This method gives you peace of mind that your bid will be executed, whether you are available or not. Busy schedules or unforeseen plans may make it difficult to reach you; if this occurs, a combination allows you to still participate in the auction with your absentee bid.


You can come to the live auction on the day of sale: it is free and open to everyone. Registration takes a matter of minutes and all you need is photo identification and a credit card. You will receive a paddle and can then bid on any lot in the sale by simply raising your paddle when the lot opens. Auctions take place at our gallery at 1440 West Hubbard, (one block south of Grand and two blocks east of Ashland) in Chicago.

Why bid live? Being at the auction also gives you the most control in bidding and the most knowledge about any competitors.

Please Note: Floor bidding is not available for online auctions.


All Wright auctions are posted to Live Auctioneers, Invaluable and eBay Live so you may participate in live, online bidding on the platform of your choice. The online bidding platform you choose will administer your registration, process and execute all your bids; your bids will be electronically transferred to Wright during the sale. We recommend that you create an account with the vendor of your choice, register prior to the auction to ensure that you are approved in time and have installed the appropriate software on your computer. There is an additional buyer’s premium added to successful bids placed thru an online bidding platform.  The additional fee is equal across all online platforms.

Why bid online? Online bidding allows you to follow the auction in real time and to bid live at your discretion during the sale or to submit absentee bids in advance.

How to Register

All phone and absentee bidders must register prior to the day of the sale; bidders who choose to bid live in the auction room can register on the day of the auction in a matter of minutes. Floor bidders may arrive up to two hours before the start of the auction or any time prior to the auctioning of the first lot on which they wish to bid.

All bidders who register will need to provide:

  • complete contact information

All bidders who register to bid by phone or absentee must also provide a completed Bid Form with:

  • a list of the lots on which you wish to bid
  • the bidding method specified for each lot
  • day of sale phone numbers and/or maximum absentee bid amounts

By registering to bid in an auction, you hereby agree that you have read and you hereby accept the terms of sale.

Bid Form

To register for phone or absentee bidding, you must begin with a bid form. You can use our secure online form to submit your billing and bid information; all details will be transmitted confidentially directly to our bid department. Alternatively, a blank bid form can be found in your catalog or you may download one here. Simply complete the form and fax it to the Wright Bid Department at 312.235.4182.

When completing the bid form, for each lot you may indicate the method by which you would like to bid: phone or absentee or with a phone/absentee combination. Be sure to include Day of Sale Phone numbers for phone bidding and maximum bids for absentee bidding.

Instructions for bid form completion

When completing the bid form for phone, absentee or a combination of both, there are some important details to include on the bid form.

For Phone bidding, select the ‘phone bid’ box for each lot you wish to bid by phone and Wright will call you to bid on the day of the sale. Additionally, you will need to provide at least one Day of Sale Telephone Number on which you will be reachable the day of the auction for bidding. We encourage you to leave more than one, as the auction is a live event and we would want to be sure to reach you.

For Absentee bidding, enter your maximum bid amount (not including buyer’s premium) for each lot you wish to bid absentee and Wright will competitively execute your bid for you. All absentee bids must be on increment with Wright’s specified increments:

under $500 $25 increment
$500-1,000 $50 increment
$1,000–2,000 $100 increment
$2,000–3,000 $200 increment
$3,000–5,000 $250 increment
$5,000–10,000 $500 increment
$10,000+ $1000 increment or auctioneer’s discretion

If a bid is placed off increment, the bid will be rounded down to the nearest on-increment dollar amount. If two identical absentee bids are registered by different bidders, the bid received earliest will prevail.

For Combination phone/absentee bidding, include your Day of Sale Telephone Number as well as a maximum bid amount (not including buyer’s premium) for each lot you wish to bid Phone/Absentee. We will call you for bidding on each lot you specify for phone bidding on the day of the sale. If Wright reaches you by telephone for bidding, your absentee bid will be void and you will bid live with the bidding representative; if we do not reach you, we will execute your absentee bid on your behalf.


After your phone or absentee bid form has been electronically submitted or faxed, Wright Bid Department will send confirmation that your bids have been received. This is your opportunity to review all critical bid information to ensure it is correct; this will also serve as the official bid form for your records. This step is quick and easy, though very important, so review the bid information thoroughly.

This Confirmation will constitute both your auction registration and your direction to Wright to bid on your behalf, unless you provide us with different written information and direction before the auction begins.


You will be able to quickly and easily view results on our website on the evening of the sale. Additionally, if you are the successful bidder you will be emailed an invoice that includes all the information you need to make payment and begin the shipping process.

Contact Wright Bid Department

Our bid department is also available to take your information via phone. You may call and we will assist by completing the form over the phone, sending you the completed form for your confirmation. We can be reached at 312.563.0020 or You may also request condition reports or speak with a specialist about each lot in which you have interest, in order for you to obtain all the information you need to bid knowledgeably. We look forward to assisting you.