Police auctions are not familiar to most people, but there are a lot of such auctions, and they often include some valuable luxury items that can be purchased at prices way below their market value.
A new website called Property Room has put this opportunity into a centralized online format. It works with 2,800 police departments across the United States, utilizing the material that has been recovered during police operations. Each lot is placed online for an auction that has a specific start and end date. You can sign up, bid for an object, watch how the bidding process is going, decide how much you want to spend, and if you are the highest bidder at the closing time, claim your product.
An example: a Patek Philippe 18 kt rose gold watch is currently being auctioned. This piece is Model 3970E, with a calibre CH 27-70 Q manually-wound movement with Geneva Seal, Gyromax balance, date and month shown in two rectangular windows, three subdials for seconds, 24-hour dial, 30 minutes recorder, leap year indicator, date and moon phases. The black crocodile strap has an 18 kt pink gold Patek Philippe deployant clasp. The case, dial and movement are signed. It is in full working condition. The retail value of this watch is about $125,000.
Bidding opened on 9 May 2012 and will end on 15 May 2012 at 9.30 p.m. Eastern Time (U.S.A.). At the time of writing, there have been 22 bids that have taken the auction price from $50,000 to $70,200.
You can browse the site to look for other watches, jewellery items, coins and bullion, and other products. I fancied a brand new Tonino Lamborghini watch at $181, but unfortunately the site only ships within the United States, and I live in Italy! So, if you're in the U.S.A., take a look, and make your bid!