There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
I intended them to be open, as in my other games with auctions (Lords of the Renaissance, Lords of the Sierra Madre, Lords of the Spanish Main, Origins, High Frontier)
Thanks for clarifying!
I love the ability of this game to tell a memorable story; of the games I've played it's right up there with Arkham Horror and Runebound in this capacity.