The charge, which is 1% of the hammer price, is on top of the regular buyer’s premium and any other fees such as local taxes and artist’s resale right.
In a statement, the auction house said the new premium is to cover “the overhead costs relating to our facilities, property handling and other administrative expenses, and reflects the increasing costs associated with delivering great service and experiences in a highly competitive marketplace”.
Sotheby’s last raised its buyer’s premium in February 2019 but the fact that the new overhead premium is a flat percentage and not part of the tiered fee structure means the overall fee increase is most notable at the top end.
Sotheby’s recently announced it had sold $2.5bn (£1.9bn) of art, antiques, luxury items and collectables so far this year, including more than $285m (£216m) in online-only auctions and $575m (£436m) in private sales.
It said 30% of all its bidders and buyers were under 40 during this period and nearly 20% of its new bidders and buyers were from Asia.
The results covered its year to date for the period January to the end of July. Sotheby’s is now a private company following its purchase by telecoms businessman Patrick Drahi in 2019 and does not have to reveal its performance publicly. It did not publish information relating to profit or how the period compared to the previous year.
CEO Charles Stewart said: “The art and luxury markets have proven to be incredibly resilient, and demand for quality across categories is unabated. The power of Asia, combined with the sophistication of established collectors and the appetite of new clients, was central to our success over the past seven months, and particularly since March.
“And although driven by necessity, it’s clear that our clients’ interest and confidence in technology has fundamentally changed.”