How to Access Government Auction Listings

by Ava Anderton - Updated September 26, 2017
Woman with a laptop computer

The U.S. government auctions off thousands of surplus items and forfeited property every day to the public through online and live auctions. Anyone can bid on items like computers, equipment, vehicles, real estate, furniture, jewelry, designer clothing and more. State and local governments also hold auctions throughout the year. You can access government auction listings directly online or by signing up to receive notices of upcoming auctions by email or mail. You can gain access to auction listings free of charge.

Visit websites of government agencies that hold public auctions. At the federal level, you can find auctions online or listings for live auctions held across the country by visiting the website. has consolidated listings of assets for sale across the federal government. A variety of state and local government agencies also hold public surplus property auctions. Links to many local government auction sites are listed at, under Shopping.

Identify contractors authorized to hold government auctions. You can obtain auction listings directly from contractors authorized by many government agencies to carry out public auctions. For example, one of the largest online public auction contractors for Federal, state and local government agencies is Bid4Assets, which auctions off surplus property, seized and tax-forfeited assets.

Sign up to receive automatic notification of new auction listings. You can call the regional office of a government agency to get on mailing lists for upcoming government asset sales. Each government or contractor website will also have a registration form to receive notices of new auction listings. It is also possible at these websites to create custom email alerts for particular items coming up for auction or categories of listings.

Call auction houses that hold live government auctions. Live public auctions are held at auction houses. Their contact information can be found on the website of the government agency that is auctioning items to the public. Call the auction house directly to receive current auction catalogs and listings of new items.


  • You can also directly access Internet and live auction listings for vehicles, equipment and property at the websites of the General Services Administration, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Marshals Service, Department of Energy, and Department of Defense.

    Watch for local advertisements, too. Public auctions can also be listed in the classified section of local newspapers, or on radio and television stations. Post offices and other government buildings will also feature notices of public sales.

About the Author

Based in Columbus, Ava Anderton has been writing about parenting, careers, international and environmental issues for nine years. Her work appears in blogs and in "Gender and Development," "The Journal for Transdisciplinary Studies," "Kapu-Sens Literary Magazine" and the U.S. National Trade Databank. Anderton holds a Ph.D. in urban planning.

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