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Buying at Auction

There’s a real buzz to buying at auction, and once you try it – like us, you’ll probably get the bug.

We host 29 auctions per year, the majority are live auctions taking place in real time on a scheduled date, alongside a calendar of online-only timed auctions in which you are able to leave bids in advance.

We make buying at auction enjoyable and uncomplicated, whether you choose to visit our salerooms and bid in person, or participate online from anywhere in the world. We also provide a telephone bidding service, should you like one of our team to bid on your behalf.

Before the auction

Our specialists publish an illustrated catalogue online 14 days before each auction, available in print, by request. If the auction appeals to you, we welcome you to come and view the sale at our premises or on location for offsite auctions. Viewing times will be published on our website and in the catalogue ahead of time.

Each lot has an estimated guide price that gives an indication of the anticipated sale result. The hammer price may be higher or lower than the estimate, depending on demand. Some items have a reserve price and cannot be sold below that figure. Please note, reserves are never higher than the bottom estimate. For further guidance on lot value and interest, simply contact the relevant department specialist.

Due to the nature and age of the material we sell, it’s commonplace to request a condition report from our team ahead of sale day, which will detail any condition issues in more depth.

To participate in an auction, you will need to register to bid by creating an account on our website; we recommend doing this in advance of the auction date to ensure processing time. Registering can also be completed over the phone or in person. 

Any first time bidders are required to submit a copy of a photo identification (e.g. passport, drivers licence) and a copy of a document verifying their mailing address (e.g. utility bill). 

Auction day

Once registered, you will be supplied with a paddle number, unique to you, which can be used either online, by telephone (booking ahead of time), or in person in the saleroom on sale day.

Online-only timed auctions

Once approved, you are able to leave a bid on your chosen lots via the online catalogue. You will be kept up to date with the bidding via email alerts, so you don’t miss out.

Payment 

All purchased lots are subject to a buyer’s premium which is 25% (plus VAT) on the hammer price. Payments can be made by credit or debit card online, BACS, in person or over the phone. Please note, phone payments have a maximum of £500.

Collection & Shipping

Our offices are open Monday to Friday 9am – 5.30pm for collections in person (up to 5 working days after the auction date). We are happy to recommend reputable third party carriers for domestic and overseas transport of goods. 

Export of Goods / CITIES

Works being sold with a relevant CITIES certificate are denoted with this symbol:


For further information regarding CITIES and wildlife material legislation please see our conditions of sale.

Want to find out more? Contact the Duke's team.