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What Does "No Reserve" Mean at a Barrett-Jackson Auction?

By Evan Chronis September 14, 2018 Barrett-Jackson Auction

A Barrett-Jackson® auction wouldn't be made possible without the combination of both buyers and sellers working in harmony. 

But that trust between buyers, sellers and the Barrett-Jackson brand isn't just handed out, but rather has been earned over years of authenticity and transparency in the auction process. 

But what does that mean, exactly?

Barrett-Jackson has solidified itself as one of the biggest, and most trustworthy, collector car auctions in the world thanks to its commitment to keeping its four annual auctions run predominantly at No Reserve. 


What is the Difference between Reserve and No Reserve?

In basic terms, a car being sold at Reserve means that there has been an undisclosed minimum sale price set by the seller who brought the car to auction. The norm in Reserve collector auctions has become that the seller sets the Reserve price too high, mostly by overvaluing their vehicle, and the car doesn't end up hitting the minimum threshold at auction.

When a car doesn't reach its perceived amount, two things can happen — the auctioneer can try to get the seller to drop the Reserve price, which normally works to no avail, or the car gets brought back to the auction block a second time to try and get someone to pay the Reserve price. 

When a car is being auctioned at No Reserve, it is for sale with no restrictions. The highest bidder will get the car with zero threshold to meet. 

Why Choose No Reserve Over Reserve?

A reserve price is beneficial to a seller if they don't want to feel like their vehicle sold at a sub-par price. It offers a sense of security that if something goes wrong, they don't lose out. But it also can harm the seller if their car doesn't sell at the Reserve price. All of the resources to get the car ready and brought to the auction block are wasted if they end up not selling their vehicle. 

Auctioning a car at Reserve can also alter the bidding process. Bidders will be less likely to bid on a car if it's being sold at Reserve because they are anticipating that the Reserve may be dropped. They also are slower to bid because their is no guarantee that their bidding war will actually result with them successfully buying the car.

While there's not a minimum price to hit at No Reserve, Barrett-Jackson has seen higher-than-usual prices of cars sold over the past decade due to the format of the auction. At No Reserve, highest bids win no matter what — so the competition gets heated and prices often soar. 

There's also the aforementioned idea of transparency that Barrett-Jackson wants to evoke. Basically, what you see is what you get. Whether you're a buyer, seller or audience member, the action happening on the show floor and auction block is completely real — there's no hidden prices set or no undisclosed numbers behind the scenes. 

When History Was Made

While Barrett-Jackson has been around for almost half of a century, it didn't make a splash with No Reserve until 2005. That year, Barrett-Jackson offered every car at its Scottsdale auction at No Reserve. The auction was a complete success and sent positive waves throughout the collector world. Because of the move, which was unprecedented at the time, only a small amount of cars at sold at Reserve at Barrett-Jackson auctions anymore. 


Be at Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas

Now that you're up to date on why the Barrett-Jackson auction is so exciting, make sure you secure your spot in Las Vegas from September 27-29! We still have availability in the Luxury Lounge, Craig Jackson Box and VIP Skybox, so secure your Official Ticket Package with Barrett-Jackson Experiences today!

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About the Bloggers

 Victoria Barnett

QE-2016_Headshot-Victoria-Barnett.pngVictoria Barnett is originally from High Point, NC. She received her B.A. in Communication Studies and minors in Business and Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In her spare time, Victoria enjoys watching baseball, baking and hanging out with her golden retriever, Kaaya. She loves to travel to Florida and is a die-hard Miami Hurricanes fan. 



Evan Chronis

Evan Chronis was born in Omaha, Nebraska but has made his home in south Charlotte for almost two decades. A Tar Heel born and bred, Evan received his B.A in Media and Journalism from UNC-Chapel Hill. He is an avid Boston sports fan thanks to his family’s New England roots, and a fanboy of Wes Anderson films.