In recent years, public auctions have become commonly referred to as “the mechanic’s auction,” where lots can quickly become a money pit for novice bidders. There is no guarantee on the authenticity of the mileage on the odometer here, and since it’s an auction, you can’t drive the vehicle prior to bidding on it. This is a place where flood vehicles sell for top dollar after being hastily reupholstered in the hopes of duping amateur bidders, and cars with bad engines come loaded with heavy-duty oil in order to ensure it doesn’t belch smoke or leak on the auction block.
Several different federal agencies hold government auctions. The General Services Administration is the granddaddy of them all, because it sells on behalf of other departments. When a federal agency no longer needs something — say, a pickup truck — it reports the truck to GSA, which first offers it to other federal agencies and then to state and local governments or nonprofits. If nobody claims the truck, then the GSA auctions it off to the public, and you get your chance at it. 
FURNITURE * GLASS, CHINA & POTTERY * STERLING * JEWELRY * TOYS * HUMMELS * CLOCKS * COUNTRY COLLECTIBLES *  ETC. (Viewing 8 - 9:30AM Day of Auction). This Auction is comprised of the Antiques & Collectibles consigned from 20 Estates, Trusts, Homes & other lots.  Partial list inc:  FURNITURE:  Pine hutch, pine chest on chest, stretcher base tap table, pine   [ View Full Listing ]
Due to the various governmental units that supply the vehicles for auction, there's no single reason for vehicles being brought to auction. Some of the vehicles are confiscated due to the former owner's involvement in drug dealing, smuggling, or fraud, while other vehicles were simply just abandoned. On exception, separate auctions will sometimes be held for very large seizures.
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