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There really is no end in sight for the way in which buyers will be penalised for spending their money at auction. Some fees already exceed 30% on top of the hammer price. I fear it won’t be many years before 50% will become a normal buyer’s commission.

As there is no regulatory body to control these excessive charges, I feel the auctioneer will eventually become his or her own worst enemy, failing to see that the more commission they charge, the less the hammer price will be.

Niall Milligan

Forrest and Fraser Fine Silver

Alternative policy

MADAM – Just when you think the buyer cannot be squeezed any more, along comes the latest wheeze from an auctioneer: charging for condition reports on low-value lots (ATG No 2369).

I think the auctioneer’s integrity and respect would be better served by simply saying “no condition reports will be provided”. Moore Allen & Innocent would not be the first to operate such a policy.

John Hardmeier


Standard practice

MADAM – I’m horrified to hear that an auction house plans to charge for condition reports.

In truth, it would be a step forward if all catalogues included condition reports as a matter of course, but if they do not, to expect payment defies belief.

If the auctioneer in question fancied buying something from a dealer, what would be his reaction if the dealer asked for payment before pointing out faults?

The other point in this is that there is an arbitary threshold of £100 estimate. You only have to read your ATG to realise that estimates rarely seem to relate to value.

The time must soon arrive to call a halt on the charges thrown at buyers.

As for storage charges, if auctioneers don’t want buyers from further afield, all they have to do is restrict their advertising to their local press.

Robert Pugh


Twitter reaction

Sylvie Collett @SylvieCollett

Surely the amount they charge to both vendors and buyers should more than cover this.

Forfar Antiques @forfarantiques

Exactly how will it encourage more buyers?

Doe & Hope @DoeandHope

The worst backward idea of all time.

Arts & Auctions @govauctionnews

If I buy a wardrobe & don’t collect it, I can’t moan if the auctioneer charges for storage; if I buy a signet ring or small framed watercolour I expect the auctioneer to keep it for a couple of weeks without a fee. Those that do, get my business.