I see a lot of Google results for this term, but not a single one explaining it. The phrase search "What is a quickfire auction" returns zero result (and will soon return this question).

What does it mean exactly?

  • 1
    It's a combination of quick fire and auction. If this is unsatisfactory, please edit you question to expand on what you don't understand. Jul 26 '12 at 10:03
  • @MattЭллен - so, are you saying that the term simply means "auctions in quick succession?
    – ripper234
    Jul 26 '12 at 11:17
  • 2
    Well, an auction where each lot is quickly disposed of, and the next beginning immediately afterwards, yes.
    – Rory Alsop
    Jul 26 '12 at 11:22

It is indeed difficult to find a definition for "quickfire auction" on Google. It turns out that it is not as simple as combining the two words. Googling the term, there are some sites that talk about these kind of auctions. From those sites, I found that they are also called penny auctions, which redirects to "bidding fee auction" in Wikipedia.

Yes, the items are sold in rapid succession, but the auction style is different from a traditional auction because "participants must pay a non-refundable fee to place a small incremental bid." This means that bidders pay for their bids as well as the final bid price. The auctioneer makes money both from the bidding and from the final bid.

For reference, on the BidCactus site, which states that it does penny auctions, this bid pack shows that it is for a 'quickfire auction.'

  • Any reference of quickfire auctions also referred to as penny auctions?
    – Playmaker
    Jul 26 '12 at 11:43
  • 1
    @Playmaker I edited my answer to include this connection.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Jul 26 '12 at 12:01

The meaning of quick fire auction, or quick-fire auction as @Noah said, or even quickfire auction seems to be subjective. It is primarily a term used in the context of online games, as @KitFox stated. I could find few other instance besides online games or e-commerce bidding. All three used the quick-fire hyphenated variant.

Art: Quick-Fire Paint Off & Auction:

the painters start with a blank canvas and end with an original work of art, just two hours later. Bids will be taken during this process...

Finance: In January 2007, Reuters published a news article with this title: Corus battle reaches climax in quick-fire auction (Tata Steel versus Companhia Siderurgica Nacional) and described the quick-fire auction as follows:

The auction requires each side and its advisers to gather in separate locations and bid via email. By late Tuesday night after eight rounds of tit-for-tat bidding, the auction reached a climax with a final round of sealed bids sent by both parties...

This was the first auction of its kind, according to Reuters. Although authorized by the UK Takeover Panel ("an independent body whose main functions are to issue and administer the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers"), I could find no reference to "quick-fire auction" (with or without hyphen) in the organization's records, although there were many entries for auctions. I would not consider quick-fire auction to be a formally defined financial term.

Other: The post is satirical but the English usage is genuine, Donegal properties auctioned off in quick-fire sale:

Donegal is today having a quick-fire sell-off of properties

A quick-fire auction is an auction that takes place during a specified time interval. An auction is a public sale, but not necessarily one which is completed in any particular period of time. As demonstrated by the Reuters article, the time interval for a quick-fire auction may be as lengthy as eight hours.


It's quick-fire auction not quickfire auction. According to OED, quick-fire means unhesitating and rapid; in quick succession. And auction means a public sale. So quick-fire auction could mean a rapid or quick-in-succession public sale, where things are sold in rapid succession.

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