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By Enkosi Selane

Digital Journalist

Auction houses or auction marketplaces? Here are the differences

While auction houses usually have their own unique items and conduct live auctions, auction marketplaces offer a wider palette from multiple buyers to competitively bid on desired items.

An auction house and an auction marketplace serve as platforms for buying and selling items through auctions, but there are some differences between the two.

Both platforms provide opportunities for buyers to acquire desired items through competitive bidding.
The specific features and functionalities of auction houses and auction marketplaces may vary, so it is important to explore individual platforms to understand what they offer.

Auction houses

An auction house is a physical location or an organization that conducts auctions.

They typically have their own auctioneers and hold live auctions where bidders can participate in person or remotely.

Most auction houses often specialise in specific categories, such as fine art, antiques, or collectibles.

Additionally, they curate and present items for auction, handle the bidding process, and facilitate the sale.

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Examples of auction houses


Aucor is a popular auction house in SA that conducts regular auctions featuring different categories including residential and commercial properties, furniture, appliances, and vehicles.

Their auction on Wednesdays are from 12pm to 3pm, they also have auctions from Thursday, 16 February until the 28th of February.

They have been operating for more than 50 years and represent both buyers and sellers.

“Aucor operates as a conduit relieving people of unwanted assets and rationalises the search for willing buyers,” says Aucor.

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Van’s auctioneers

Van’s auctioneers specialises in farm, house and asset auctions.

Van’s has branches in four provinces in South Africa, namely in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape.

This auction house has also been running for more than 50 years, and currently have offers up on their website. One of their offers is worth above R15 million.

The offer constitutes six adjacent irrigation, grazing, livestock farms bordering the Lephalale River, with water rights, in Limpopo.

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Auction marketplaces

An auction marketplace, on the other hand, is an online platform that connects buyers and sellers from various auction houses or individual sellers.

It acts as a centralised marketplace where multiple auctioneers or sellers can list their items for auction.

Users can browse through the listings, place bids, and participate in auctions hosted by different sellers or auction houses.

Auction marketplaces provide a wider range of items and categories compared to a single auction house. The following are some examples of auction marketplaces:

ALSO READ: Top 5 Most expensive items sold on auction: Miscellaneous


Invaluable is one of the leading online auction marketplaces that connects auction houses with buyers and sellers internationally.

Their auctions offer a vast range of items including but not limited to jewellery, art, wines and cigars, modern literature, furniture, antiques, toys and general collectibles.

They currently have live auctions and it does not matter when or where you see this from if you click on this link you will be directed to their over 700 running and upcoming auctions.

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Catawiki is an online auction marketplace that specialises in authentic and unique collectible items.

They have some big deal brands in some of their auctions including Rolex, Omega, Nikon, Pokemon, Cartier, and Porsche.

Catawiki’s famous categories consist of Euro coins, modern coins, stamps, wines, whisky and panini.

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