The change applies to all categories of objects sold by Phillips other than watches, which will continue with the current buyer’s premium structure.
The new buyer’s premium structure is:
- 25% of the hammer price up to and including $200,000 (or £100,000);
- 20% of the portion of the hammer price above $200,000 (or £100,000) up to and including $3m (or £1.8m);
- 12% of the portion of the hammer price above $3m (or £1.8m).
The changes comes at a time when Phillips are expanding their specialist base with a series of appointments, including the announcement that former Sotheby’s worldwide head of Contemporary art Cheyenne Westphal will be joining Phillips as chairman in 2017.
Phillips released a statement saying: “At a time of growth and expansion for Phillips, the increased revenues flowing from this change will enable us to make further investments in the business and to continue delivering excellent service to clients in the categories we serve.”
The previous buyer’s premium rates were:
- 25% of the hammer price up to and including $100,000 (or £50,000);
- 20% of the portion of the hammer price above $100,000 up to and including $2m (or £1m);
- 12% of the portion of the hammer price above $2m (or £1m).
What does it mean?
In effect these changes mean that the auctioneers’ cut of the amount buyers pay will increase. Auctioneers normally raise their buyer’s premium not just to gain extra revenue from buyers, but also to allow them to negotiate more flexible deals with vendors to win consignments in the first place.
However the current rise in the buyer’s premium will have a greater effect at both the lower end and top end rather than the middle level (Phillips’ buyers fees for items knocked down at around $1m have risen proportionately less).
If a work is knocked down at $500,000, previously the buyer paid $605,000 but will now pay $610,000 (meaning the net percentage at this level rises from 21% to 22%).
With a $1m hammer price, a buyer would pay $1.205m under the old rates but will now pay $1.21m (net percent rise from 20.5% to 21%), while a knock-down sum of $10m now results in the buyer paying instead $11.45m of $11.365m (net percent rise from 13.65% to 14.5%).
Phillips’ new buyer’s premium levels bring them exactly into line with Sotheby’s, although Christie’s premium structure has lower thresholds with 25% paid up to $100,000 and a 12% fee charged beyond $2m.
Moscow-based luxury retail giant Mercury Group buys a majority stake in Phillips de Pury with former owner Simon de Pury remaining as chairman.
Simon de Pury leaves the firm and sells his remaining stake to Mercury at the end of 2012. The auction house is renamed Phillips in 2013
Ed Dolman, former Christie's chief executive who left in 2011, joins Phillips after quitting as executive director of the Qatar Museums Authority. Later in the year they announce they will be moving their London saleroom from Victoria to Mayfair’s Berkeley Square.
Phillips announce a series of appointments including Cheyenne Westphal who will be joining Phillips as chairman in 2017.