How to buy in our auctions

Buying at auction can be very exciting and a great way to secure a unique piece. But if you're new to auctions here's a few things you'll probably want to know. 

Click on a question below to see the details. 


We always provide comprehensive lot descriptions together with high-resolution photography. However, viewing the sale prior to bidding is still important for many buyers. 

You are now able to view lots in person by appointment - please book a viewing appointment using the link below.

Book a viewing appointment >

We always provide comprehensive lot descriptions together with high-resolution photography, and many of our lots have condition reports as soon as they are published. However, sometimes you will have other questions - in this case, you can request further information from us through our website (this is sometimes called a 'Condition Report'). 

To request further information click the 'Request Information' button that you will see on the Lot Details page - i.e. the page that gives the full lot details including image and description. 

Please note that we will not be able to provide condition reports on the morning of the sale itself, so please get your requests in early.

We are an online auction house and run 'Live Online' sales -  we do not have the public in the saleroom for the auctions. We've made it really easy for you to participate in our auctions from the comfort of your own home by offering a range of bidding options:

1. Absentee bidding

'Absentee' bidding is when you leave your maximum bid with us before the auction - the auctioneer will then execute the bid on your behalf when the auction is underway and will try to secure the lot for you at the least amount. 

The best way to leave an absentee bid is through our website - you can leave your absentee bid in the weeks leading up to the auction, up to 30 minutes before the auction starts (at which time bidding switches to 'live bidding' mode - see below). 

The advantage of leaving an absentee bid is that you can submit your bid and then forget about it - this is particularly convenient if you are not able to be around when the auction happening. If you can't use our website you can also submit an absentee bid by email, by phone (but please note that bids will not be accepted after the sale starts).

f you are successful with your bid an invoice will be emailed to you immediately after the sale. 

2. Live internet bidding

Live internet bidding or just 'live bidding' is an exciting way to take part in our auctions from the comfort of your own home. We offer free live bidding through our website - click the link below to find out more. 

How to bid live, for free >

3. Telephone bidding

A telephone bid is when we phone you as the auction is happening to allow you to bid on your lot in real-time via telephone. You can request a telephone bid by creating an account on our website and using the 'Request Telephone Bidding' form that you will find under the 'My Account' section. 

If you are successful with your bid an invoice will be emailed to you immediately after the sale.

Other ways to bid

Our auctions are also carried by a number of different platforms both nationally and internationally so you can also bid through those platforms if you wish - but when bidding via external platforms additional fees may apply. The best way to bid in our auctions is directly through our own website.


When you bid at auction you pay the 'hammer price' (the price the lot is sold for) plus a 'buyers premium'. Our Buyers Premium rate is currently 25% + VAT (i.e. 30% inclusive of VAT). An example is as follows:

  • The hammer price is £100
  • Therefore the Buyers Premium is £25 (25% of £100)
  • For most lots, there will be VAT due on the Buyers Premium, but not on the hammer price - so the 20% VAT charge on the £25 Buyers Premium is £5.00
  • The total invoice amount would be £100 Hammer Price + £25 Buyers Premium + £5.00 VAT on Buyers Premium =  £130.00

Auctioneers sell lots on behalf of vendors - so when a lot sells the 'hammer' price goes to the vendor.

Some works of art (particularly paintings) are subject to a charge called 'Artists Resale Right'. This is a charge that goes directly to the artist when their work is sold - see the FAQ below on Artists Resale Right for further information about this charge. If this charge applies to a lot we will clearly state this on our website.

Artist's Resale Right (or 'ARR' for short) gives creators of original works across their lifetime, and for 70 years after their death, the right to a payment when their work is resold in the secondary market with the involvement of an art market professional - such as an art dealer or auction house. The charge applies when the artwork is sold for greater than 1,000 Euros. 

The charge is calculated on a sliding scale according to the resale price of the artwork (i.e. the hammer price, excluding buyer's premium). The auctioneer will generally advise the Euro exchange rate at the start of the auction. 

  • 4% from €1,000 up to €50,000;
  • 3% between €50,000 and €200,000;
  • 1% between €200,000 and €350,000;
  • 0.5% between €350,000 and €500,000; and
  • 0.25% in excess of €500,000.

This payment scale is cumulative, which means that the royalty is calculated based on the % of the resale price falling into each tier outlined above. Here are some examples - the exchange rate is 1.1 Euro to 1 GBP.

Example 1

  • The hammer price for a painting is £3,000 (€3,300 equivalent)
  • First £909 - no charge (€1000 / 1.1 = £909 threshold)
  • Then - £2,091 at 4% which is £83.64

Example 2

  • The hammer price for a painting is £850 (€935 equivalent)
  • Since the threshold for ARR is €1,000, no payment is due.

The charge is capped with the total amount paid for any single sale of a work not exceeding €12,500 (GBP equivalent). The charge is collected by the auctioneer (you will see it listed on your invoice) and passed on to the collecting agency on your behalf. 

ARR applies to the sale of artworks in the European Economic Area. You may sometimes hear the ARR referred to as 'droit de suite' - this is just the French name for the term.

You will need to pay for your items online using our secure 'Payment Page', or by bank transfer. Full instructions are given on your invoice. Please note that we no longer accept cash or cheques. You can pay by chip and pin machine at our saleroom if necessary (please indicate you wish to do this when booking a collection appointment). 

Collection is by appointment only using our click and collect service, you can also make arrangements to have your items collected by a courier or you can use our in-house shipping service - see below for a list of couriers and for details about our shipping service. Full payment must be received before any items will be released.


You will need to pay for your items before you can collect, or at the time of collection (using one of the payment methods listed above). Collections (whether by you or by a courier on your behalf) are by appointment - you can book an appointment through our website by clicking the link below. 

Book a collection appointment >

You may already have your own preferred courier, but if not here are some couriers that can provide this service. 

If using a courier, we would advise that you obtain a quote for costs beforehand. You must book an appointment for your courier using our website booking system.

For smaller items such as coins & banknotes, jewellery, watches etc. we provide an in-house shipping service for UK clients.  We also offer postage on antique and modern firearms and can transfer licensed firearms and airguns to your local RFD.  We use Parcelforce for this service which is fully tracked and insured.

For larger items of furniture or paintings, we work with Bradley’s Antique Packing Services who have specialised in Fine Art & Antiques for over 30 years.  For a UK or Worldwide quote please click the link in your invoice.  Once your invoice has been paid your item(s) will be collected by Bradley’s from Wilson55. 



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