Auction Terms & Procedures
Whether you are an auction veteran or a novice, the below tips will help you be prepared for any auction.
"Everybody needs a deal."
Allen L. Hunt [1903-1995]
Caveat Emptor or "buyer beware" is the coda of all auctions. Items are sold on an "as is" basis meaning you are buying the item in whatever condition it is in. Antiques are old. They have been used and may have nicks, chips, or scratches. Therefore, you should attend the preview of the items to be auctioned the day prior to the auction. If you can't make it the day before, arrive at least an hour before the auction is scheduled to begin. Previewing an item prior to the auction will allow you to see what condition the item is in before you bid.
Register Upon Arrival
Register for a bid number as soon as you arrive. If you wait until an item is on the auction block to register, by the time you finish registering, the item you want will have been sold. Registering for a bid number places you under no obligation to buy and there is no cost to register, so you might as well register and be prepared to bid. You must have a bid number in order for your bid to be recognized by the auctioneer. Also, most auction houses require a valid driver's license to register for a bid number, so don't forget to bring the proper i.d. required.
View a sample of our Buyer Registration Contract.
Larger items are sometimes sold where they are in the room. An armoire, for example, may not be brought up to the auction block to be auctioned. The auctioneer will direct the participant's attention to the item being auctioned. If you are unsure what is being auctioned - don't bid - ask.
Pay attention to what the auctioneers says before bidding begins on a particular item. If multiple items are being auctioned at the same time they are sometimes sold for an individual price. The auctioneer will say the item will be sold times however many items they are. For example, a set of 8 dining room chairs may be auctioned times 8. This would mean whatever price the auctioneer is calling will be multiplied times 8 to get the total sale price for the set. If the chair's hammer price is $100, then the total hammer price for the set is $800.
Pay for your items before you leave even if you plan to pick up the items the next day. If you do not pay for your items then the auction house cannot complete their records for that day. You will not be given the paperwork you would need to retrieve your items.
Be informed as to the buyer's premium and applicable taxes. These will be added to the hammer price of the item when you check out. To avoid going over your budget, find out what these are prior to bidding on an item.
Dealers Be Prepared
Dealers and individuals are welcome to attend our auctions. Dealers must present a copy of their 10 digit Sales Tax & Registrations number [form R-1042] at time of purchase [no exceptions]. This is the only form the IRS will accept. THIS IS NOT YOUR TAX ID NUMBER. You must present this on the day of the auction. Without proof of your ability to re-sell, the auction house will have to charge you the full sales tax on the items you purchase. NO EXCEPTIONS!
Be Prepared to Pack & Haul
Arrive at the auction prepared to pack and haul anything you may buy including furniture. Most auctions do not offer packing materials for fragile items, boxes, furniture pads, or people to load your purchases. If you attend the preview the day before, you will have an idea as to what you are interested in purchasing and can then arrive prepared to pack and haul the items if you win the bids. All auctions require you to take your purchases by a certain time so they can make room for more incoming items. Our auction requires that you have your purchases picked up within three days of the auction date.
If you are unable to attend an auction but know you wish to bid on an item, a representative of the auction house can bid for you. You must contact the auction house prior to the auction to notify them as to what items you wish to bid on and what your maximum bid will be. You will also need to make payment arrangements at that time.
The representative will then try to purchase the item for you for the lowest price possible, not exceeding the limit you specify beforehand. Indicate to the representative prior to the auction whether or not your maximum bid is to include the buyer's premium and taxes or if it is the hammer price of the item. Be advised, you are still responsible for previewing the item before you place an absentee bid.
Retrieving Your Purchases
Most auction houses do not allow anyone to pay for their purchases during the auction. This may be disruptive to the ongoing auction. If the auction house allows you to pay for your purchases during the auction, follow their procedures.
When you pay, you will be given a ticket stub or receipt for the items you've paid for. This receipt must be given to an auction employee. The auction employee will then go and retrieve your item for you. Don't be impatient. If all workers stop to help you retrieve and load your purchases, then the auction stops.