Buyer's and seller's premiums

Auctioneers charge buyers and sellers a percentage of the hammer price - known respectively as the buyer's premium and the seller's premium (the latter is also referred to as vendor's premium, vendor's commission or seller's commission). This fee in the UK is usually also subject to VAT.

Each auctioneer sets its own rates for these premiums. Check their terms and conditions for details.


ATG letters: What the trade thinks of the buyer’s premium

19 February 2024

Sotheby’s recent decision to lower and simplify its charges sparked a flurry of reaction which we published in last week’s issue (ATG No 2630). Letters to our bulging postbag followed soon after.


Dealers and auctioneers react after Sotheby’s shock changes to both buyer’s and vendor’s fees

12 February 2024

The surprise decision by Sotheby’s to cut its buyer’s premium and standardise its vendor fees sparked a wave of comments across the art and antiques trade.

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Top stories this week including news of Sotheby’s overhauling its fees structure

11 February 2024

The most viewed stories on this website over the last week included news of Sotheby’s announcing a major shake-up of its customers’ fees including a reduction of its buyer’s premium.

Sotheby’s saleoom New Bond Street

Sotheby’s slashes buyer's fees and sets seller's commission at standard rate

03 February 2024

Sotheby’s has announced a major shake-up of its customers’ fees, reducing its buyer’s premium for the first time since it was introduced in 1979 and setting seller's commission at a standard rate.


Buyer’s premium now raised at all the major players

10 July 2023

The flagship London summer sales were the first to take place since the major auction houses all raised their buyer’s premiums in the first half of 2023.


Christie’s raises buyer’s premium... then sets a Rousseau record

15 May 2023

Christie’s first major auction series since raising its buyer’s premium last month kicked off in New York offering Impressionist and Modern art.


ATG letter: Buyer's premium – to quote or not to quote, that is the question

07 June 2021

I’m just wondering why you still persist in showing auction prices without including the buyer’s premium charges.

Phillips Berkeley Square, London

Buyer's premium rises at Bonhams and Phillips

16 November 2020

Auction houses Bonhams and Phillips have both increased their buyer's premium.

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Christie’s takes third way on premium structure

12 October 2020

Christie’s has changed its buyer’s premium levels this autumn – creating clear air between its fee structure and those used at Sotheby’s and Bonhams.

ATG letter: Sotheby’s shop – will there be a buyer’s premium?

12 October 2020

MADAM – I note that Sotheby’s will be opening a retail shop at their Bond Street premises (News, ATG No 2462).


ATG letters: Sotheby’s 'overhead' fee – so what is the point of buyer’s premium?

17 August 2020

MADAM – ATG's report ‘Sotheby’s introduces new fee on top of the hammer price and buyer’s premium’ (News, ATG No 2454) will raise eyebrows.

Sotheby's London

Sotheby’s introduces new fee on top of the hammer price and buyer’s premium

10 August 2020

Sotheby’s has introduced a new fee called an ‘Overhead Premium’ that is payable by all auction buyers across its salerooms and online auctions globally.

DNW challenges status quo with premium rise at numismatic sales

05 August 2019

Dix Noonan Webb (DNW) has become the first UK numismatics auction house to set its buyer’s premium beyond 20%. The London coins, medal and jewellery specialist will charge a premium of 24% from September.

Dix Noonan Webb London

Buyer’s premium rise for leading UK coin auctioneer

29 July 2019

Dix Noonan Webb (DNW) has become the first UK numismatics auctioneer to set its buyer’s premium beyond 20%. The London-based coins, medal and jewellery specialist will charge a premium of 24% from September.

ATG letter: Fee rises need to be much clearer

18 March 2019

MADAM – I believe auction houses should make it clear to bidders that buyer’s premium has gone up and the fee does not include VAT.


Bonhams introduces 27.5% premium threshold to "reflect the cost of bringing objects to global auctions”

11 March 2019

Auction house Bonhams has raised its buyer’s premium levels, adding a new threshold of 27.5% on the first £2500/$3000 of the hammer price.


Bonhams becomes latest auction house to raise buyer’s premium

04 March 2019

Auction house Bonhams has raised its buyer’s premium levels effective from today.

Sotheby's New Bond Street

Sotheby’s and Phillips raise buyer’s premium with new rates higher than Christie’s

26 February 2019

Auction house Sotheby’s has increased its buyer’s premium to a level that goes beyond the recent changes announced by Christie’s.

ATG letters: What’s next – an auction room admission fee?

04 February 2019

MADAM – a simple question to auctioneers in general: are you in danger of slowly killing the goose that lays the golden eggs?

Christie’s auction gavels

Christie’s raises buyer’s premium to target 'middle market' and top-end

31 January 2019

Christie’s has raised its buyer’s premium, increasing the level at which its 25% threshold applies and adding an extra percentage point to its charges above £3m. The new schedule takes effect from February 1.