An auction is usually a process of buying and selling goods or services by offering them up for bid, taking bids, and then selling the item to the highest bidder or buying the item from the lowest bidder.

Auctions were and are applied for trade in diverse contexts. These contexts are antiques, paintings, rare collectibles, expensive wines, commodities, livestock, radio spectrum, used cars, online advertising, even emission trading and many more.

Auctions have a long history, having been recorded as early as 500 BC. According to Herodotus, in Babylon auctions of women for marriage were held annually. The auctions began with the woman the auctioneer considered to be the most beautiful and progressed to the least. It was considered illegal to allow a daughter to be sold outside of the auction method.

Cricket players are routinely put up for auction, whereby cricket teams can bid for their services. Indian Premier League (IPL) started annual public auctioning of cricket players in 2008 as an entertainment for mass consumption. Also, Bangladesh Premier League conducts cricket player auctions, starting in 2012.

In some countries, such as Australia, auction is a common method for the sale of real estate.

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