The auction is the second part of the game, first comes the Gift phase, which is a sort of draft. Each player takes it in turns drawing a number of cards equal to the number of players plus 1. At the end of all this, each player will have a card and the remaining card is in the pile to be auctioned in the second part. A lot of the thought for the game goes in deciding whether to keep, auction or pass the card drawn, with the possibility that if you keep it, something better might come up next, but then if you pass it, you may have given away the best card of the set. Once the pile is gifted out, the auction pile is auctioned off one at a time. Then the value of the cards are compared in each category (with ties broken by a unique letter on the cards - the best tie breakers are found on the lowest value cards). Winner in each category gets the points indicated for that category (as adjusted by church cards).
We only just got the game (and the rest of the group have not played it yet), but still, this was a strange game in which several church cards come out early, all boosting their categories. I had only seen gold and church cards for the first few, so instead of influencing a color I already had, it gave me goals. I knew J had a headstart in the books, so I pushed her bid up a little and then left her to it, looking at the forbidden tomes and scrolls as my main point scorers. I had little of the pigments and a decent amount in the quills , with only small numbers coming out there, it looked like J was not fighting me in quills and I had little chance of overtaking her in pigments (and both of the suppositions was somewhat faulty!), but the real battle was in the Forbidden Tomes, which I knew she had the lead but it was boosted to 5 and so very important. I got the 2 and the 1B, but right after that, the 1A came out and I was by now short on cash, so J grabbed it. The tie-breaker did indeed come into effect, so while I won the two lowest scorers and J took the 3 best, if I had the Forbidden Tomes on my side, I would have won.
Quill(2) Pigment(4) Book(4) Scroll(3) Tome(5)
J: 3 5 4 2 5A = 13
me: 4 3 0 5 5B = 5