The first step is to have the item valued.


A lot of auction houses have a regular weekly or monthly Valuation Day.

For large items an appointment can be made for a valuer to visit you.

It is becoming increasingly common for individual items to be valued by sending photographs to the auctioneer.

Once an auction estimate and any reserve has been agreed you will be given a receipt, which will include the auctioneers Terms and Conditions and probably  the date of the sale. This forms the contract between you.

Prior to the sale you will receive a pre-sale advice confirming details of the sale and your item.

Shortly after the sale you will receive a post-sale advice giving the outcome of the sale.

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To bid at auction you will first need to register. The first time that you register with an auction house they will probably require identification, both of your identity, e.g. driving licence or passport and your address, e.g. utility bill.

There are a number of ways to bid:-

  • Attend the sale and bid in person.
  • Commission or Absentee bids. Leave a written bid with the auctioneer for the maximum hammer price you are willing to pay. This will be executed by the auctioneer as cheaply as possibly taking into account any reserve or other bids.
  • Telephone bidding. Leave instructions to be phoned by the auctioneers during the sale to bid through a member of staff. The number of lines available are obviously limited, so telephone bids are accepted on a first come basis.
  • Live on-line bidding. The various portals hosting on-line bidding offer real time bidding via an audio and/or visual link to the auctioneer. An extra fee is usually charged.

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