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 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?


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: 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 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 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.


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 letters: Charging for condition reports is ridiculous as auctioneers don’t know everything

10 December 2018

MADAM – Re: condition report charges at Moore Allen & Innocent for lower-value items.

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.

ATG letters: Auctioneer's condition report fee is an idea that needs to be checked itself

03 December 2018

MADAM – Once again we have an auctioneer defending an increased charge with various excuses given for the necessity (‘Auctioneer to charge for condition reports’, ATG No 2369).

Auctioneer to charge for condition reports

26 November 2018

Cotswold auction house Moore Allen & Innocent is trialling a new operation to encourage more people to attend its saleroom.


ATG letter: Auction house charges – let’s focus on the real issues

19 November 2018

In a letter to ATG, auctioneer Michael Roberts of PFK Penrith defends auction house commissions saying “the majority of regional firms offer a good service, fairly priced”.

ATG letter: All fees charged by auction houses should be ‘crystal clear’

05 November 2018

MADAM – I refer to your article regarding the slight wrist-slap the Advertising Standards Authority gave Christie’s about notification of extra fees charged for services rendered (ATG No 2365).


ATG Letter: Rewards for the underbidder sound great - mine’s a bottle of wine, thanks

20 October 2018

MADAM – I am writing regarding a point made at your recent round table (ATG No 2358) on charging for expertise, regarding how auctioneers need to value the underbidder.


Auction house Christie’s criticised by Advertising Standards Authority over ‘misleading’ advert

17 October 2018

An investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has found that a Christie’s auction advert was ‘misleading’ in relation to the notification of fees such as buyer’s premium.


ATG letter: Why dealers’ mark-up is their own business

01 October 2018

MADAM – I read with great interest your ‘The price is right’ report of the recent ATG round table, debating how to charge for expertise (ATG No 2358). I would like to respond to a question you posed as to whether dealers should have to justify their mark-up.


‘Bidders are still surprised by the buyer's premium they must pay’

24 September 2018

MADAM – I read with great interest your round table report (ATG No 2358). You asked us to continue the debate, so I write to you to make some observations.


ATG letter: Why should dealers have to justify their retail pricing?

17 September 2018

MADAM – In your round table report on charging for expertise (ATG No 2358), you identified topics raised in the discussion and asked us to give our views them. So here goes:


Round table debate: The price is right

10 September 2018

In an increasingly complex marketplace, how should auctioneers and dealers charge for their services?

ATG letter: Furniture price squeeze has helped auction fees rise

18 June 2018

MADAM – Like David Carter (ATG No 2345) I can remember the time when we auctioneers could make a living with only seller’s commission of 10%.


ATG letter: Premium rise would be unfair

11 June 2018

MADAM – In response to letters on credit card fees and buyer’s premium at auction houses in ATG No 2345, I would argue the assumptions made are misplaced – certainly in the case of how our auction house works.