Sotheby's New Bond Street
Sotheby’s has increased its buyer’s fees with immediate effect.

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The changes took affect yesterday in time for the flagship sales of Impressionist and Modern art in London this week. Sotheby’s evening sale in this category takes place this evening (February 26).

Sotheby’s new schedule, which applies to all categories excluding wine and select online-only auctions, is as follows:

  • 25% of the hammer price up to and including £300,000 (up from £180,000)
  • 20% of the hammer price from £300,000 to £3m (up from £2m)
  • 13.9% of the hammer price above £3m (up from 12.9%)

The changes mean the 25% threshold at Sotheby’s applies across a wider range than Christie’s and the upper rate of 13.9% is higher than the 13.5% percentage charged by its rivals.

Under the new rates, the buyer of a work knocked down at £500,000 at a Sotheby’s auction in London would pay £3750 more than at a Christie’s sale (the premium-inclusive price being £615,000 at the former and £611,250 at the latter).

A work knocked down at £10m now commands an extra £28,000 in fees at Sotheby’s compared to Christie’s – £11.588m compared to £11.56m.

Sotheby’s buyer’s premium for sales in New York, Paris and Switzerland has also been similarly amended. The new schedule in all its salerooms can be viewed here.

The changes follow Christie’s announcement at the end of January that it had increased its buyer’s premium.

Christie’s new buyer’s premium in the UK

  • 25% of the hammer price up to and including £225,000
  • 20% of the hammer price from £225,001 up to and including £3m
  • 13.5% of the hammer price above £3m

Phillips’ new buyer’s premium

Meanwhile, Phillips has also announced a change to its buyer’s premium which has now taken effect for sales in London, New York, Geneva and Hong Kong. In London, Phillips’ new rates are as follows:

  • 25% of the hammer price up to and including £300,000
  • 20% on the hammer price from £300,000 to £3m
  • 13.5% on the hammer price above £3m

The rates apply across in all categories sold by Phillips: 20th century and contemporary art, Latin American art, design, photographs, editions, watches and jewellery.