How to Bid at Auction

Registering to Bid

If you wish to bid for an item in one of our sales it is necessary for you to register with us in advance of the sale. If it is the first time that you have registered with us we will require two forms of identification. One must be photographic (such as a passport, driver’s licence or identity card) and the other a proof of address (such as a bank statement or utility bill). Remember that registration can take a few days to complete if you are not registering in person.

Bidding at a Auction

It is possible to bid at a sale in several different ways:

1. In person by attending the sale

You will need to register for the sale when you will be given a ‘paddle’ which is usually a piece of card which will have your own unique number on it. This you must use when you bid for an item. If you wish to bid, simply raise your paddle to catch the eye of the auctioneer. The auctioneer should make it clear when he is taking your bid and the bids will advance according to pre-set increments. Continue to show your paddle until you are the highest bidder or when you no longer wish to bid further. The gavel will fall when the item is sold and if you are successful in buying the lot, the auctioneer will call out and record your number.

2. Commission or Absentee Bids

If you are unable to attend the auction you can leave a Commission Bid with us which allows us to act and bid on your behalf. You will need to complete a Commission Bid Form which can be arranged in person, by phone or by e-mail once you are registered with us. On this form you will specify which lots you wish to bid for and the maximum bid that you are prepared to pay and we will then bid on your behalf to secure each item for the lowest possible price. It should be noted that the maximum bid refers only to the hammer price and any additional charges such as the Buyer’s Premium and relevant VAT will be added afterwards to it. If we receive written bids on a particular lot for an identical amount and at the auction these are the highest bids on the lot, it will be sold to the person whose written bid was received first.

3. Telephone bidding

You may bid by telephone if you instruct us before the sale. A member of staff will telephone you a few lots before the item on which you wish to bid and will then place bids on your behalf until you have won the lot or decide to bid no further. Telephone bids can be arranged for any number of lots and are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis because there is a practical limit to the number of telephone bids that we can execute for any one lot. Such bidding requests may also be subject to a minimum estimate value. We must advise that we cannot take any responsibility if we are unable to reach you on the telephone as your lot comes up for sale and we recommend, therefore, that telephone bids are also supported by a covering commission bid.

4. Buying Live Online

You may bid live at our auctions through the online bidding faclility.