Surplus Personal Property Sales

GSA offers these types of sales for surplus personal property items, other than items for electronic bidding through GSA AuctionsSM:

Live Auction

GSA holds an auction when there are many items for sale in one location. Many of our car and truck sales are auctions. GSA uses traditional auction methods. Prospective bidders receive descriptions, bidding instructions, and an opportunity to inspect the merchandise ahead of time or on the day of sale. Many of these auctions are conducted by commercial auction companies under contract with GSA.

Fixed Price (Cash and Carry)

At fixed-price sales (also called "Retail"), GSA posts the selling prices on the property and sells the items on a first-come, first-served basis.

Drop-By (Silent Auction)

A drop-by is a combination of an auction, a spot bid, and a sealed bid sale. This type of sale is advertised with inspection and bid on the same day, at the same time. Bidders must be present and register to receive a bidder's card. After inspecting the property, bidders place their cards in a locked container—the bid box.

Bid cards are evaluated and the award is made to the highest bidder. Bidders are notified by mail or phone. Payment and removal are similar to a sealed bid. This type of sale is often used when there is not enough property to warrant an auction.


It is the policy to sell property after publicly advertising for bids. However, personal property may be sold by negotiation when circumstances dictate, subject to using any feasible competition.

Sealed Bid

GSA sells by sealed bid when the items are in scattered locations. GSA makes an "Invitation for Bid," (IFB) available to prospective buyers via mail, fax or online. The IFB contains the following:

  • Item descriptions;
  • Sale terms and conditions;
  • Item locations and inspection times; and
  • A bid form.

Bidders complete the bid form and mail it to the address noted in the IFB. GSA must receive bids by the opening date and time indicated on the IFB. GSA opens all bids publicly.

See Surplus Personal Property Sales for a listing of scheduled sales by geographic location.

Last Reviewed: 2021-05-05