MADAM – Raymond Woodruffe was fortunate to receive 63.4% of the proceeds of his sale item (Letters, ATG No 2285).
Had he used a London auction house he would have probably have received less than 50%. A buyer’s premium of 25% and 15% commission plus VAT would come to 48% alone.
Then add in photography, insurance plus the 2% surcharge imposed by one London auction house on items that sell above the higher estimate, and the figures speak for themselves.
I think it’s time vendors received the same sort of transparency over selling fees that buyers are now beginning to enjoy.
A start could be made with calling buyer’s premium by what should be its correct name: vendor’s commission.
MADAM – Thank you to ATG for publishing Raymond Woodruffe's letter.
It’s about time the seller’s point of view in the debate about auctioneer fee transparency was explained in a clear way as Raymond did in his letter.
I now primarily use the internet for selling.
All the dealers I know who do buy at auction factor in the buyer’s premium into their bids, so the seller loses out all the time but of course, do not complain.
MADAM – Raymond Woodruffe complains about paying, in effect, 36.6% commission, including VAT, taking into account the buyer’s premium of 21%, for selling a clock for £1400 at auction.
Three salient points arise. First, what did the vendor originally pay for his clock? Second, what was the estimate? Third, why did he not arrange for the photograph fee to be waived, and negotiate a sensible vendor’s commission rate?
The figure initially quoted by a provincial auction house (in this case, 15%) is, in my experience, normally an invitation to negotiate.