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Art and antiques auctions, have been a successful method of buying and selling fine art, for centuries and are a barometer of the market at local, national and international level.

If you are selling art and antiques at auction, you may wish to use an auctioneer, who is an RICS member.  If you are looking to buy art and antiques at auction, a Chartered arts and antiques surveyor, can advise you on whether the investment you will make, will be a sound one.

A RICS regulated auction house, abides by certain minimum standards, to ensure that your bidding experience is a happy one.  Auctioneers will not take accidental nose-scratching as a bid, for instance. 

When buying at auction, make sure that you allow yourself enough time to examine thoroughly, your chosen lot.  If unfamiliar with antiques or fine art, make sure that you buy a catalogue, read the description and estimate and then ask questions.  Auctioneers and valuers, are more than happy to share their expertise and knowledge with you.

Auction houses are required to ‘know their clients’, for the protection and benefit of all involved in the auction process.  Whether you are a vendor or bidder for a lot, you will be required to give your name, address and telephone number and provide some form of ID.  Once registered, you will then be allowed to bid and given a paddle number for bidding.

An auctioneer is your appointed agent, when selling at auction and your representative to the buyer.  When selling, first seek advice from a RICS Chartered arts and antiques surveyor.  They will offer impartial, confidential, professional advice, based on their knowledge and expertise.  The surveyor will usually provide, free pre-sale estimates.

When purchasing at auction, check the method of payment required, before you bid.  Many auction houses, do not release goods after sale, until they have cleared funds in their account.  Before you bid, check with the auctioneer, if there is a Buyers Premium, i.e. a charge on the hammer price, payable to the auction house.

The auctioneer’s terms and conditions of business, including a note of any Buyers Premiums, are usually posted around the auction room and noted in the catalogue.

Advances in technology, mean that some auctioneers can enable you to place bids on lots, via the internet and you may even be able to bid live at the auction room, through the internet.  If you are bidding on the telephone, wait for clear instructions from the bid clerk, who will let you know when to bid and the increment expected.  Bidding is really exciting, so do not forget to enjoy yourself.

Once you have successfully bid for a lot, pay at the auctioneer’s office and remove your purchase, as soon as convenient.

Welcome to the auction world !

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