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There are several different kinds of auction, each with its own set of rules. Each rule set revolves around bidders making bids for certain objects. The traditional auction, often called the English auction, involves bidders making successively higher bids until only one bidder remains, who is then declared the winner.
A Dutch auction begins with the auctioneer asking a very high price, and then slowly lowering the price until one person is bidding, after which that person is declared the winner. At a sealed bid auction, each bidder submits a bid in secret, and the highest bidder wins. In a silent auction, bidders submit sealed bids on multiple items, with the highest bidder winning.