Phillips Berkeley Square, London
Phillips headquarters at 30 Berkeley Square, London. Image via Google.

The changes follow Sotheby’s introducing a new ‘Overhead Premium’ earlier this year that is payable at all its auctions globally.

Christie’s then responded by adjusting its buyer’s premium levels in September.

The changes at Phillips became effective on October 15.

The new rates are:

26% up to £450,000

21% from £450,000 up to and including £4.5m

14.5% above £4.5m

The previous rates were:

25% up to £300,000

20% £300,00 to £3m

13.5% above £3m

While Phillips has already staged a number of timed-online sales since the new rates were introduced, it held its first auction in London under the new charges last week.

The 168-lot design auction on November 12 was a ‘live-streamed’ event run from the Berkeley Square saleroom. Among the lots catching bidders’ eyes was a rare dining table by Piero Bottoni from c.1950. One of only three examples of the design executed in wood, it had been bought by the vendor for £22,500 at Christie’s in May 2012.

Here, against a £40,000-60,000 estimate, it was knocked down at £320,000. With premium, the buyer will pay £403,200. Under the previous level, that figure would have been £399,000.

Piero Bottoni dining table

A partially ebonised mahogany dining table, c.1950, by Piero Bottoni that sold for £320,000 at Phillips.

Bonhams changes

Bonhams has also raised its buyer’s premium by adjusting its thresholds and increasing the top level from 13.9% to 14.5%.

The changes took effect on November 7.

The new rates are:

27.5% up to £10,000

25% £10,000 to £450,000

20% £450,000 to £4.5m

14.5% above £4.5m

The previous rates were:

27.5% up to £2500

25% £2500 to £300,000

20% £300,000 to £3m

13.9% above £3m

Sotheby's and Christie's buyer's premium

The current rates at Christie's and Sotheby's are as follows:

Christie’s

25% up to £450,000

20% £450,000 to £4.5m

14.5% above £4.5m

Sotheby’s

25% up to £300,000

20% £300,000 to £3m

13.9% above £3m

Plus 1% overhead fee