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Auctions can be a blast and an amazing resource. But Where? How? When? And why do they talk so fast? Here’s some help for the Auction Newbie.

The wonderful people at Shipshewana Trading Place and Flea Market hold a weekly auction of COOL STUFF every Wednesday, all year long. We’ve put together some helpful tips so you can ease into THAT AUCTION LIFE. You can find one-of-a-kind items, hard-to-find antiques and collectibles, plus all the things that you don’t even know yet that you definitely need.

Maybe even that Transformer your insane mother JUST GAVE AWAY when you were little. (Rude.)


  • Arrive early. It’s a good idea to inspect the goods ahead of time. Most auctions will let you preview whats coming up for sale. In Shipshewana, potential bidders can preview items for the weekly Wednesday auction every Tuesday until 5pm and Wednesdays starting at 5:30am. 5:30 seems crazy, though. Plan for 8am, that gives you a good hour to poke around before the 9am start. They also give the option of checking things out via the magical internet with
  • Be prepared to buy. Even if you think you won’t, better safe than sorry. You can’t bike home with an antique armoire on your back. Probably. You may want to arrive in a truck and bring boxes and blankets for packing up any fragile bits and pieces.
  • Get registered and get your buyer’s number when you get to the auction space. Take a photo ID with you.
  • Make sure you understand the terms of the auction. These can typically be found posted around the space, on an auction sheet, and/or announced by an auctioneer before they get started. If you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask when registering!
  • Keep hold of your buyer number or paddle. It’s how the auctioneers know who’s buying what. If you don’t want to jump in paddle first, feel free to hang back and watch until you feel like you understand what’s happening.
  • When you’re ready to attempt your first purchase, just raise your buyer number or paddle, and make sure you get the auctioneer’s attention. Move closer if you need to.



  • There will be from six to nine auctioneers at the Shipshewana Wednesday Auctions. (You’ll get used to the racket.) And they talk fast! (You’ll figure out the rhythm and key phrases as you listen.) When multiple auctions are happening at once, plant yourself at the one that has THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. Some of the auctioneers are Amish, some not. It’s fun to watch even if you’re not bidding!
  • You can also designate a friend with a number and a highest bid limit to bid at a simultaneous auction for you. Make sure it’s someone you trust. Stranger with a mischievous streak equals chaos.
  • Generally speaking, what you see is what you get, and you don’t get to change your mind later, so make sure you really want to buy the thing you’re bidding on.
  • Listen carefully to the way things are being sold. If there are multiples of items, or a table full of similar items, you may be able to bid a price per item and buy as many of them as you’d like. Example: You bid $5 for a picture frame and win, and then choose a total of four frames for $20.
  • In another instance, some things can be sold as a set, but the bidding is only for one of the items. Example, your winning bid of $100 for a tractor tire, from a set of four, means you’ve just bought yourself the set of four for $400. It can be tricky, so pay attention!
  • Bring some friends! They can help make you brave, cheer you on, and carry the heavy stuff.
  • Stop by the Auction Restaurant next door when you’re done. You deserve celebratory pie. Or “cheer you up because you lost” pie. They’re both delicious.


Planning a Trip?
Stop by the Visitor's Center for local tips, referrals, FREE coupon books and visitor's guides. We are located at 350 S Van Buren St.