An auction is 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. In economic theory, an auction may refer to any mechanism or set of trading rules for exchange. The word "auction" is derived from the Latin auge_ which means "I increase" or "I augment". For most of history, auctions have been a relatively uncommon way to negotiate the exchange of goods and commodities. In practice, both haggling and sale by set-price have been significantly more common. Indeed, before the seventeenth century the few auctions that were held were sporadic and infrequent. Nonetheless, auctions have a long history, having been recorded as early as 500 B.C. 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.
Contributions by Isomorphic, Piotrus, and Masili.