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I recently sold a clock at an established provincial auctioneer. On enquiring at their office, I was told that the seller’s fee was 15% plus VAT. No further information was volunteered.

The clock sold for a hammer price of £1400, on which the buyer paid a premium of 21% plus VAT, giving a total purchase price of £1752.80.

My deductions, based on the hammer price, were £252 commission, £25.20 warranty and £12 for a photograph, which meant that I received £1110.80.

This represents 63.4% of the purchase price, so in effect I paid 36.6% commission including VAT.

Why can’t we dispense with the term ‘buyer’s premium’ and show it for what it is, namely another deduction from the money due to the seller?

Raymond Woodruffe

Tunbridge Wells