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.

Sotheby’s online-only sales no longer all premium-free

16 April 2018

Sotheby’s has made a u-turn on its pledge to scrap fees for purchasers at its online-only auctions.


Sotheby’s re-thinks buyer’s premium fee at online-only auctions

09 April 2018

Sotheby’s is retreating on its pledge to scrap fees for purchasers at its online-only auctions.

Bonhams in New Bond Street

Bonhams adjusts buyer’s premium thresholds

05 October 2017

Bonhams has changed the price thresholds for its buyer’s premium. The new rates in the UK exactly mirror Christie’s charges but are slightly different to Sotheby’s adjusted fees structure which comes into force next month.

Phillips New York

Phillips raises buyer’s premium following changes at Sotheby’s and Christie’s

13 September 2017

Auctioneers Phillips have raised its buyer’s premium with the changes effective immediately.

Christie’s reacts to premium change

04 September 2017

Christie’s has reacted quickly to rival Sotheby’s announcement of a new premium structure (ATG No 2306) by increasing its own buyer’s premium.

Christie’s buyer’s premium

Christie’s increases buyer’s premium

29 August 2017

Auction house Christie’s has raised its buyer’s premium. The latest changes to the thresholds follow Sotheby’s announcement of a new premium structure last week.

Sotheby's New York

Sotheby’s scraps buyer’s premium fee for online-only auctions

22 August 2017

Auction house Sotheby’s is to scrap buyer’s premium – the fee paid to the firm by those who buy at auction – for its online-only sales.

ATG letters: When and why auctioneers should give discounts on buyer's premium

14 August 2017

MADAM – I write regarding the ban on passing on the cost of credit card transaction fees in our credit (debt)-obsessed society (ATG No 2302).

Letters to the Editor: it's time sellers, not just buyers, benefited from transparency

10 April 2017

In the debate about transparency of auctioneer fees, sparked by the Advertising Standards Authority December 2016 ruling that buyer's premium needs clearer promotion, the point of view of vendors needs to be heard too, three letter writers argue.

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Auction Technology Group issues guidance to auctioneers on advertising standards for print publications

27 February 2017

Auction Technology Group, parent company of Antiques Trade Gazette, has issued guidance to auctioneers on how to display fees and charges alongside estimates.

The Advertising Standards Authority

Advertising Standards Authority says auctioneers ‘should be clearer on fees’

03 January 2017

The Advertising Standards Authority has said auctioneers need to be clearer when presenting their commission rates.

Sotheby’s increases buyer’s premium

17 October 2016

Sotheby’s has increased its buyer’s premium with the changes effective from November 13.

Bonhams increase buyer’s premium thresholds

09 September 2016

Bonhams have followed Christie’s in increasing their buyer’s fees by adjusting their premium thresholds.

Buyers’ fees rise at Christie’s as auction house increases premium thresholds

07 September 2016

Christie’s have adjusted their buyer’s premium thresholds, bringing them closer into line but not identical to the rates at rivals Sotheby’s.

Catalogue auction buyers premium

COMMENT – industry split over Advertising Standards Authority probe into auction pricing

12 August 2016

The art and antiques trade has reacted with mixed views over the launch of an investigation into the way auction houses display their commission rates. A number of dealers have told ATG that an investigation into transparency of buyer’s premium is long overdue, while auctioneers have pointed out that the proposed changes would be unnecessary and impractical.

ASA to investigate transparency over auction premiums

27 July 2016

The Advertising Standards Authority have launched an investigation into the way auction houses display their commission rates.

Cottees premium falls for early 2016

31 December 2015

As an introductory offer to their new saleroom near Poole, Cottees will be reducing both their seller’s commission and buyer’s premium to 10% (plus VAT) for the first three months of 2016.

Sotheby’s alter buyer's premium structure

27 January 2015

Sotheby's have announced a new buyer’s premium structure in New York. Effective from February 1, the rates will apply as follows:

Ex-chairman of SOFAA damns 2% success fee

28 October 2014

The chairman of one of the UK’s most successful provincial auction houses has joined the condemnation of Christie’s new 2% success fee, saying he is appalled by it.

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New coin auctioneers offering reduced buyer’s premium

30 May 2014

A newly established firm of numismatic auctioneers, Wilkes & Curtis, are aiming to break into the marketplace by offering a fixed buyer’s premium of 10%.