We aren’t talking about building blocks here, or street blocks: we’re talking about the auction block. Sometimes when lots of grown-ups (or kids) want to buy the same item, the seller can put it up for “auction.” All the interested buyers decide what they’re willing to pay – they “bid” – and the highest bidder wins the item and has to pay that amount. In a live auction, bidders call out higher and higher numbers and the last one standing wins it…so sometimes people get competitive and get stuck paying a lot more than they planned. In a “sealed auction,” you just put your bid in an envelope and all envelopes are opened at once; the high bid wins and that’s it, no second chances. As we’ll see here, there are other ways to run auctions – and maybe to score an awesome deal.
Wee ones: If someone bids $3 for a 1960′s Raggedy Ann doll, and you bid $3 more than that, how much will you have to pay?
Little kids: Live bidding goes up in “increments,” or jumps of a certain size. If an old-fashioned Mickey Mouse coin sorter has a current bid of $25 with increments of $5, how much will the next bid be? Bonus: If the increments after that become $10, what will be the next bid after that?
Big kids: If there’s a sealed auction for the first American Girl doll ever, and the 3 bids are $54, $12 more than that, and then $25 more than the middle bid, what’s the winning bid? Bonus: In a “Dutch auction,” the auctioneer calls out prices that get lower until the first person who’s willing to pay calls out. If bidding starts at $90 with $2 increments for each drop in price, and you have $75 on you, how many prices do you have to skip before you can bid?
Wee ones: $6.
Little kids: $30. Bonus: $40.
Big kids: $91, since the middle bid is $66. Bonus: 8 prices to skip. The price has to drop to $74, which is $16 lower, requiring 7 drops in prices that you skip along with the original $90 bid.