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During the American civil war goods seized by armies were sold at auction by the Colonel of the division. The range of auctions that take place is extremely wide and one can buy almost anything, from a house to an endowment policy and everything in-between.
Some of the recent developments have been the use of the Internet both as a means of disseminating information about various auctions and as a vehicle for hosting auctions themselves.
In some cases these catalogs were elaborate works of art themselves, containing considerable detail about the items being auctioned. The development of the internet, however, has led to a significant rise in the use of auctions as auctioneers can solicit bids via the internet from a wide range of buyers in a much wider range of commodities than was previously practical.
At this time, Christie's established a reputation as a leading auction house, taking advantage of London's status as the major centre of the international art trade after the French Revolution. In 2008, the National Auctioneers Association reported that the gross revenue of the auction industry for that year was approximately 8.4 billion, with the fastest growing sectors being agricultural, machinery, and equipment auctions and residential real estate auctions.
Christie's, now the world's largest auction house, By the end of the 18th century, auctions of art works were commonly held in taverns and coffeehouses.
These auctions were held daily, and auction catalogs were printed to announce available items.
Didius Julianus outbid everyone else for the price of 6,250 drachmas per guard, In a candle auction, the end of the auction was signaled by the expiration of a candle flame, which was intended to ensure that no one could know exactly when the auction would end and make a last-second bid.
Later slaves, often captured as the "spoils of war", were auctioned in the forum under the sign of the spear, with the proceeds of sale going towards the war effort.
One of the most significant historical auctions occurred in the year 193 A. when the entire Roman Empire was put on the auction block by the Praetorian Guard.
Auctions may differ as to the price at which the item is sold, whether the first (best) price, the second price, the first unique price or some other.
Auctions may set a reservation price which is the least/maximum acceptable price for which a good may be sold/bought.