To avoid any confusion in an auction, bids increase by a set ‘increment’ each time. The bidding increments are:


Although at first it might seem like a random arrangement of numbers, if you look closer you will see a pattern emerging in the numbers after 100. They increase roughly by 10% each time and the pattern repeats itself as more zeros are added:

  • Anything beginning with a one (100, 1,000, 10,000 etc.) goes up in ‘1s’ (100 – 110 - 120 or 13,000 - 14,000 - 15,000 etc.)
  • Anything beginning with a two (200, 2,000, 20,000) goes up in ‘2s’ (200 – 220 – 240 – 260 or 2,400 – 2,600 – 2,800)
  • Anything beginning with three or a four (300, 400, 3,000, 4,000) goes up in ‘0 - 2 – 5 – 8’ (300 – 320 – 350 – 380 or 4,000 – 4,200 – 4,500 – 4,800)
  • From then on, between five and nine the numbers go up in ‘5s’ (500 – 550 – 600 – 650 or 7,000 – 7,500 – 8,000 – 8,500)
  • After that, it is back to one and the pattern repeats itself. 

These are the standard increments that are used in most auctions across the world – a universal auction language. But sometimes, the auctioneer will increase the bids in smaller increments if they feel it will encourage more bidding. This is also known as ‘splitting the bids’.

Needless to say, you don’t need to know the increments by heart when bidding.

The auctioneer will always let you know what the next bid increase will be. But if you are ever in any doubt then just ask. At The Auction Collective we want to make buying a work of art a fun and easy process.

Good luck in the auction and don't forget, to help make the process of buying contemporary art more affordable, there is no buyer's commission at The Auction Collective. What you bid is what you pay.