Why are auction prices on Wine Searcher listed without VIG?

You pay VIG at auction, while not at retail. So the final price you will pay for a wine at auction is a combination of the two. You are never going to pay the price listed on WineSearcher, while you will at retail. Seems like the playing field should be leveled.

If you list it at reserve on Wine Searcher, it is designed to draw the buyer. We all know there is VIG, but it probably has the same psychological effect the auction houses count on when they estimate the wines low to get buyers excited.

It has also means that the wines are listed closer to the top, which gives a completely false take on how auction wines compare to retail. I just posed the question to WineSearcher, and am curious as to their response.

Because “high end problems.” :wink:

WineSearcher isn’t affiliated with the auction houses. The auction houses set their own “premium“ rates, and those can change. WineSearcher is more like a search engine. It is scouring the sites for prices. In almost all cases, the auction house sites do not list the premium as part of the price. So, the search engine cannot include the price in its search results.

1 Like

David, you make a lot of snide comments about high end problems, but drink well enough to be included in the category. I would be a lot more interested in your response if you actually tried to answer the question, or failing that, kept these comments to your cat.

All true, but it would not be hard to alter the algorithm to reflect the VIG. Then if it changes, they can alert WineSearcher to the fact.

I’ve also noticed that W-S either lags real time or just lists the opening bid which further distorts the price difference between “list” price and actual price paid. That said, I usually just hide auctions if I’m trying to get a sense for whether a retail price is good or not.

As an aside, I don’t understand the low estimate game. If a lot is estimated at $1,000 to $1,500, for instance, that would seem to discourage bets above $1,500 because of the impression that you’re getting a bad deal (even if it’s a very fair deal based on past auction data). Sure, experienced bidders and industry folks will have access to past auction data and probably already have a pretty good idea of what a given wine is worth no matter what the auction house says, but certainly some folks will rely on those figures.

Perhaps if you defined “VIG” he wouldn’t be so snide? [scratch.gif]

VIG is commission charged by the auction house. Typically around 25%, so a major added cost to the transaction.

Vigorish is an amazing word with a wonderful history and interesting implications in commerce and economics.

They would need to track the buyers premium and taxes for each auction house, not something they want to take on

Clickbait, basically - showing the auction-only price is what every single auction house does, so you bid more! If they included buyers’ Premium and the like, bids would be lower, I’m quite certain. Even KNOWING the extra 15-20% immediately while bidding, there’s a psychological barrier there if the price is shown

I would think that everyone or at least most people that bid at auction knows each house’s buyers’ premium and not very difficult to do the math in your head when looking at prices on wine-searcher. I like it this way and wouldn’t want wine-searcher to change it.

The cat also thinks these are high end problems.

I don’t buy at auction.

In general though, it’s like sales tax - controlled by the entity, not WineSearcher, so why should they have to deal with it. If you can afford to buy the wines you can probably figure out the effect of the VIG.

I asked this to the WS team back in June. Here is their reply:

Yes we have definitely though of this, adding buyers commissions to auctions.
It is in the pipeline for development at Wine-Searcher.

Thanks for your feedback, we hope to have this improvement live shortly.

Your cat and my cat disagree. If you want older and/or mature wine, you are pretty well limited to auction houses.

Reasonable response by Winebid. I think it would be great if Vig were included in wine-searcher results. It’s a real cost for buyers that changes pretty rarely. Sure I can calculate it in my head, but in a sorting algorithm why not use all fixed available data?

You could go one step further and instead of using low end of range estimates, use average of 3 recent auction prices. Many problems with that, yes I know, but that’s a more likely realistic indicator of auction cost that auction house supplied ranges. When I am trying to figure out whether or what to bid on auctions, I do my best to ignore the auction house ranges and use historical data when it exists.

By the way, on the question about the low estimate game. Yea, it’s a weird one. At best it’s a realistic estimate of the lowest likely winning bid. It also usually reflects the lowest bid that the seller or auction house would accept (in most cases the online houses accept a fixed amount below the low as a minimum bid, on the order of 20%). But it also is a marketing tool to entice bidders and prey on their hopes of getting a good deal. Some will argue that the ranges are only bogus marketing tools to entice suckers and to allow the auction house to crow about selling above estimates, but I think they serve multiple purposes.

The easy solution is to ask the auction houses to include the commission in their listings.

Evergreen post.

I don’t think that’s strictly true, but it’s certainly harder to find older things at retail, and you really need to trust the source, as provenance becomes an issue. I’ve certainly backfilled a bunch of things at retail; auctions are dangerous :slight_smile:

I don’t think this is a Wine Searcher problem. You could also ask why they do not include tax and shipping. They scrape list prices. It’s not really their issue when it comes to total costs.

It’s on the auction houses to post this but I don’t think any of them really want to for obvious reasons. It would be nice if they at least showed you that when you go to big. K&L does show you what the total would be including the commission when you put in a bid. WineBid does not as noted.