Activity will build through September and October and usually peak in November. This is when many of the European houses hold their semi-annual sales. Many European houses limit themselves to twice yearly book auctions, with May and November generally being the favored times. Auctions will continue strong through the first two weeks of December and then drop off a cliff, as sellers, buyers, and auction houses prepare for the holidays. Sales will pick up again in January, but the pace will be much slower until spring arrives.
The Americana Exchange offers some valuable free services to help you locate material at auction. Auctions are a great place to buy if you are seeking value for your money, though only a fairly small percentage of the book-buying public participates. The advantage is you can set your price and never pay more than you choose. You will not find everything you want, or most things precisely when you want them, but with patience you will find some excellent deals. Patience is the hallmark of a careful investor.
If you look just under the toolbar near the top of this, and most other pages of AE, you will see a search box with the words "Search for keywords here." To the left of it are choices for AE Database, Upcoming Auctions, and Books For Sale. Check the circle next to "Upcoming Auctions." Then enter keywords for the topic, author, etc., that is of interest. Then click "Search." In a fraction of a second, you will have your results.
What you are searching is the only cooperative database of book auction listings from around the world. Rather than having to find and search through each auction house's listings separately, AE scours the listings of over 150 auction houses worldwide. When a book auction is announced, AE places those listings in a cooperative database with other houses, so you can search all of them at once. A task otherwise so complicated and time-consuming as to be realistically impossible can be accomplished in less than a second. Not bad, especially considering the price.
New auctions are added practically everyday, and some houses don't post their listings until a few days before the auction, so you should check back here regularly and search anew. Since you are depending on random luck for items you like to show up, you don't want to miss them when they do. When you find something you would like to purchase, you can click through to the house's website for instructions on placing an online bid. The bidding process may seem a bit unfamiliar at first, but so did it feel that way at first for eBay, or Amazon, or AbeBooks. It really won't take long to make online bidding a part of your arsenal of book collecting now that AE has made finding books at auction possible.