Government Sales And Auction


There are some government agencies that sell and auction certain materials which were previously owned by the government. These materials include but are not limited to: art, aircraft, antiques, clothing, collectibles, vehicle, real estates, furniture, houses, jewelry, vehicles, commercial equipment, computers and electronics and land. They are able to do this transaction via online or live auction and sale. The mentioned materials can be previously owned by the government or other US owned territories.

There are numerous reasons as to why the government are selling these materials. Some have been seized by the government from criminals; some materials were apprehended due to non-payment of federal taxes and the others are being auctioned simply because they are no longer needed by the agency.

Here are some of the agencies that host auctions and sales depending on what you are looking for, some can be accessed via web and you can post your bid online. Different items are auctioned by different agencies.

Real Estate:

Other Types Of Property:

As mentioned earlier, you can also acquire surplus property from the local government. You can search and inquire in your local state about properties on auction.

Things To Know When Participating In Government Auctions:

  • It is everybody’s knowledge that the number one rule of auction is that the highest bidder wins and you cannot cancel whatever bid you made or back-out especially if you were the highest bidder.
  • Some materials and properties are solely auctioned by the government.
  • Some auctions are hosted or handles by a third party but a government agency is the one who performs the shopping or the sales.
  • There are different ways on how one can pay for an auctioned material. If you were the highest bidder, you have to know the mode of payment that is accepted by the agency who hosted the auction.
  • Different payment options are: via credit card and personal checks.
  • The Internal Revenue Service does not accept credit cards or personal checks as mode of payment, they prefer Cashier checks which are also widely accepted by most agencies.
  • Real estate auctions have special considerations in terms of payment. You may have to work with a real estate agent or a broker even during the bidding process. Also, they usually do not accept financing and you have to pay in cash immediately after the bidding process is over.

Things To Know When Buying Travel Documents And Tickets

  • Only the federal government of the U.S. can sell travel documents for international and cross-border trips
  • AMTRAK sells tickets if your wish to travel the country via train
  • NATIONAL PARK SERVICES sells tickets for national parks and recreational lands.
  • For travels outside the United States, a passport is required and you will be required to apply for one. The cost when applying for a passport depends is it is just a renewal or you are applying for a new one.

Things To Know When Buying Federal Land

  • When vacant lands are not needed both by the public nor the government, they usually sell it. It will initially be offered to Federal Agencies before it will be offered to the public.
  • Real Property – these are lands that are usually developed. It may already have buildings or infrastructures, these lands may have offices, military bases and other facilities. The agency in charge of selling such is the General Services Administration (GSA).

*if you are interested in a property mentioned in this category, you may contact the GSA’s office of Real Property Utilization and Disposal at 1-202-501-0084.

  • Public Land – this is the opposite of real property, these lands are undeveloped and are vacant lots. The agency in charge of public lands is the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management and you can contact them through the BLM state office.

Things To Know About FEMA Temporary Housing Units

  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency owned temporary housing units like trailers, mobile homes, and park models.
  • The General Services Administration’s Office of personal property is in charge of THU auctions. If you are interested to know if there are available units for sale or for auction you can register at GSA Auction.
  • You can also check GovSales for FEMA owned THUs that are for sale
  • If you want to know about the payment options you can visit How to Purchase Surplus Property

Things To Know When Buying Government Publications

  • There are certain government publications that are made available to the public and there different ways on how once can acquire such publication. These can be purchased online such as ebooks, PDFs and other electric formats. Some are available as hard copies.
  • The government agency that sells publications is the Government Publishing Office. The list of books they sell are posted in their online bookstore. Searching is easy because they have arranged theirs books via keyword, author, title, subject, etc. They also have publications that can be availed via subscriptions. You can contact the GPO bookstore for the instructions in purchasing and payments via different methods like email, phone or postal mail. They also accept publication order forms (PDF, Download Adobe Reader) which can be sent via fax or email. They can also accommodate bulk orders.
  • If you made an order with the GPO, you can check the status of your purchase or raise your queries in the agency. Take note that when you are checking your purchase’s status; you should have your order number, billing statement and other pertinent information related to your order.
  • There are also free and low-cost publications and you can check it out at for orders placed via mail, you can send it to Consumer Information Catalog. For questions in this category, you can contact the fulfilment center.

Things To Know About Government Souvenirs And Collectibles

If you are interested in acquiring souvenirs and collectibles from the government, here is a list of the different agencies clustered depending on the things they sell.

Branches of the Federal Government

Government Agencies and Institutions

Memorials, Monuments, and Museums

Presidential Library Gift Shops

Things To Know When Buying Forfeited Property

  • Auctions for forfeited or seized property are held by the Department of the Treasury.
  • They have a variety of materials for sale such as cars, boats, real estates, jewelry, clothes, etc.