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Buyer’s Premium:

A charge made by the auctioneer to the buyer as a percentage of the hammer price. This fee is usually subject to VAT.

Purchase price:

The hammer price and buyer’s premium plus VAT on the premium.

The buyer should establish the rate of buyer’s premium and other add-on costs such as VAT and factor them into prices prior to bidding. Auctioneers may also charge fees such as a minimum lot fee.

Lots consigned from outside the EU may also incur additional charges: look out for symbols denoting this in the cataloguing.


Goods will be released only after arrangements for payment have been made. Check beforehand which forms of payment are accepted.

Internet bidding:

Online bidding allows you to follow an auction as it is happening via the internet and bid in real time against those in the room or on the telephone. To participate in this way you need to register your details before the sale just as you would at the auction house. Typically, the lot being sold will be shown on screen with the level of bidding displayed alongside. For the internet bidder it is then simply a matter of clicking to register a bid.

Storage and insurance:

An auctioneer will usually make it clear how soon after a sale a lot must be collected and what the storage fees might be for any delay. Buyers who wish to collect purchases some time after the sale might consider taking out insurance for them while they are in storage. Failure to collect within the agreed deadline may lead to purchases being resold by the auctioneer.


If an auctioneer offers delivery, buyers will need to factor in the cost if they do not want to pick up purchases themselves. If an auctioneer does not offer a delivery service, they will usually be able to refer the buyer to service providers who operate in their area.