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.


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.

Christie's King Street landscape.jpg

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).

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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

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

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.

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Auctioneer Chris Aston: Why I charge for phone bids

28 January 2019

Fees charged by auctioneers, from buyer’s premium to condition reports, have been a hot topic in the pages of ATG and on social media recently. One reader contacted us regarding the move by a West Midlands auction house to charge winning bidders who have used the phone the same fee as online buyers.

ATG letter: Fees should not penalise those with knowledge

28 January 2019

MADAM – Bearing in mind that auctioneering can be a university qualification (unlike dealing) and is an occupation that charges for its services, should there not be some form of censure and control over firms that get it so wrong?

ATG letter: Seller’s guide would help make a choice

21 January 2019

MADAM – You continue to receive letters from dealers complaining about buyer’s premiums.

ATG letter: In defence of auctioneers and their fees

21 January 2019

MADAM – Various of your correspondents over the last few weeks find that the prospect of paying for a condition report, as well as a buyer’s premium, sticks in their craw.

ATG letters: New year resolutions response – boost ‘brown’, big-up the young and build business confidence

14 January 2019

MADAM – Your new year’s resolutions piece (ATG No 2374) was thought-provoking, citing aspirations and concerns reflecting the current art and antiques market.

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ATG letters: Condition reports – fine art auctioneers should learn from philatelics

07 January 2019

MADAM – I write regarding charging for condition reports for lower-value lots.

ATG letter: Would the trade prefer landfill?

10 December 2018

MADAM – I appreciate I had my turn the other day (Letters, ATG No 2369), but a quick note covering two points if I may.

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