fbpx Art Auction 2020 - How to Bid on Artsy | Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

We are so excited to announce that our Auction pages are NOW LIVE!

This year MCASD’s Art Auction is an entirely digital experience and we want to make the registration and bidding process as easy as possible. Below you will find step-by-step instructions for utilizing the Artsy platform.

TO NOTE: There are TWO Auctions (LIVE and SILENT) and you will need to register for BOTH if you want to bid on works in both auctions. Registering for one auction does not automatically register you for the other.

  1. You can bid on your computer, laptop, phone, or tablet.
  2. Open your browser (Safari, Google Chrome, Explorer, etc.) on your device and enter the web address artsy.net/MCASDArtAuction
  3. You are now at the Museum’s Art Auction Landing page – we recommend you bookmark this page so it is easy to access later.
  4. This page includes general information about the Art Auction, a link to our website that features a new video about the Museum’s La Jolla expansion, and access to both the Live and Silent Auctions.
  5. Scroll down to access MCASD’s Live and Silent Auctions. The lead image for the LIVE Auction is Helen Pashgian's Untitled, and the lead image for the SILENT auction is Isaac Julien’s Omeros.
  6. Click on the image to enter either auction.
  7. Once you click to enter, you will now see the full listing of works to bid on. You will also see a REGISTER TO BID button. Here is where you will REGISTER.
  8. Again, if you want to bid on works in both the Live and Silent Auctions you will need to register for both auctions Below are several infographics to help with this process.

If you are having trouble registering or bidding, please email artauction@mcasd.org to schedule a registration and bidding walkthrough with MCASD staff.


Register to Bid

To place bids in an auction on Artsy, the first step is to register to bid. Each sale has a separate registration on the auctions dedicated sale page. If you have already registered with us before, ensure that you are logged in and click “Register to Bid” for a one-step registration. When you register, take note of the type of auction you’ve registered for and see applicable steps below for Live or Timed bidding processes. Registration for most live sales closes 24 hours in advance of the sale, so make sure to register early!


Browse & Request Additional Info

When you see a lot you want to bid on, you can view more information by clicking the thumbnail. You can also connect with an Artsy specialist by clicking “Ask a Specialist” for any additional questions.

Download Artsy for iPad or iPhone


Live Bidding

If you are bidding in a live auction, you can place a maximum bid anytime before the lot is up for auction. Artsy will execute your bid(s) in the room on your behalf up to, but not beyond, the defined amount. You can also tune in live as the auction unfolds through Artsy’s Digital Saleroom that will become available on the specific auction page when the sale begins. Our system will tell you if you are winning by indicating that the current amount in the room is going to your paddle number.

Bidding Increments

Under $1,000$50
$1,000 – $1,999$100
$2,000 – $4,999$250
$5,000 – $9,999$500
$10,000 – $19,999$1,000
$20,000 – $49,999$2,000
$50,000 – $99,999$5,000
At or above $100,000$10,000

Timed Bidding

If you are bidding in an timed auction, you can place a maximum bid and the system will bid on your behalf based on our bidding increments below at the lowest competitive price. Pricing increases (up to - but not beyond - your maximum bid) as other users bid on the work. Please note that maximum bid amounts are only executed if there is a competing bidder up to that amount.



All winning bidders will get a confirmation email at the close of the auction, and auction houses will reach out to you directly about next steps within shortly following the sale.

Bid from anywhere, anytime with the Artsy App

Download Artsy for your iPhone or iPad and easily register, browse, and bid.


Auction FAQs

How do I register for an auction?

All bidders need to register by completing an online form and providing all required information, such as their full name, contact information, and credit card details. Auction Houses often require additional vetting of bidders and may prevent registration in advance of a sale. Check the instructions for the sale you are interested in and register early. We will communicate the status of your registration via the email and contact information you provide.

How do I place a bid?

Bidding on Artsy is easy with our automatic bidding system. Select your bid amount as long as it is greater than or equal to the next minimum bid shown on the bidding screen, then click the “Bid” button. This will automatically place a bid for you at the next increment and save the amount you entered (if higher) as your “Maximum Bid.”

What is a maximum bid?

If you enter a bid amount higher than the next minimum bid, the amount you enter is treated as your “Maximum Bid.” Entering a Maximum Bid does not necessarily mean you will pay that price, and you may pay less. As the auction progresses, our system will bid automatically for you against other bidders, according to our automatic bidding increments (see below), up to (but not exceeding) your Maximum Bid, only as much as necessary to maintain your position as highest bidder. If two bidders attempt to enter the same Maximum Bid, the first bidder to enter that amount will be the winner.

What are bidding increments?

Our automatic bidding increments determine the next minimum bid that can be placed. They are based on the current bid of each item and increase at the following intervals, when the current bid is:

Under $1,000: $50
$1,000 - $1,999: $100
$2,000 - $4,999: $250
$5,000 - $9,999: $500
$10,000 - $19,999: $1,000
$20,000 - $49,999: $2,000
$50,000 - $99,999: $5,000
At or above $100,000: $10,000

Note: Our usual bidding increments are listed above, but depending on the auction, we will default to the bidding increments of our auction house partners.

What is a reserve price?

A reserve price (also known as a "reserve") is the confidential minimum price below which the item may not be sold in the auction. If an item has a reserve, this will be indicated on the bidding screen where you enter your bid. When you bid on an item with a reserve, if your Maximum Bid meets or exceeds the reserve, your bid will be increased to meet the reserve (according to our automatic bidding increments), and bidding will continue from there. If an item is offered with a reserve, Artsy will be authorized to bid on the seller's behalf, up to the amount of the reserve. Some live sales may have unknown reserves and we will try to represent them as accurately as we can during the live sale. In live sales, the auctioneer's decision is the final one.