Buyer's and seller's premiums

Auctioneers charge buyers and sellers a percentage of the hammer price - known respectively as the buyer's premium and the seller's premium (the latter is also referred to as vendor's premium, vendor's commission or seller's commission). This fee in the UK is usually also subject to VAT.

Each auctioneer sets its own rates for these premiums. Check their terms and conditions for details.


ATG Letter: Rewards for the underbidder sound great - mine’s a bottle of wine, thanks

20 October 2018

MADAM – I am writing regarding a point made at your recent round table (ATG No 2358) on charging for expertise, regarding how auctioneers need to value the underbidder.


Auction house Christie’s criticised by Advertising Standards Authority over ‘misleading’ advert

17 October 2018

An investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has found that a Christie’s auction advert was ‘misleading’ in relation to the notification of fees such as buyer’s premium.


ATG letter: Why dealers’ mark-up is their own business

01 October 2018

MADAM – I read with great interest your ‘The price is right’ report of the recent ATG round table, debating how to charge for expertise (ATG No 2358). I would like to respond to a question you posed as to whether dealers should have to justify their mark-up.


‘Bidders are still surprised by the buyer's premium they must pay’

24 September 2018

MADAM – I read with great interest your round table report (ATG No 2358). You asked us to continue the debate, so I write to you to make some observations.


ATG letter: Why should dealers have to justify their retail pricing?

17 September 2018

MADAM – In your round table report on charging for expertise (ATG No 2358), you identified topics raised in the discussion and asked us to give our views them. So here goes:


Round table debate: The price is right

10 September 2018

In an increasingly complex marketplace, how should auctioneers and dealers charge for their services?

ATG letter: Furniture price squeeze has helped auction fees rise

18 June 2018

MADAM – Like David Carter (ATG No 2345) I can remember the time when we auctioneers could make a living with only seller’s commission of 10%.


ATG letter: Premium rise would be unfair

11 June 2018

MADAM – In response to letters on credit card fees and buyer’s premium at auction houses in ATG No 2345, I would argue the assumptions made are misplaced – certainly in the case of how our auction house works.

Sotheby’s online-only sales no longer all premium-free

16 April 2018

Sotheby’s has made a u-turn on its pledge to scrap fees for purchasers at its online-only auctions.


Sotheby’s re-thinks buyer’s premium fee at online-only auctions

09 April 2018

Sotheby’s is retreating on its pledge to scrap fees for purchasers at its online-only auctions.

Bonhams in New Bond Street

Bonhams adjusts buyer’s premium thresholds

05 October 2017

Bonhams has changed the price thresholds for its buyer’s premium. The new rates in the UK exactly mirror Christie’s charges but are slightly different to Sotheby’s adjusted fees structure which comes into force next month.

Phillips New York

Phillips raises buyer’s premium following changes at Sotheby’s and Christie’s

13 September 2017

Auctioneers Phillips have raised its buyer’s premium with the changes effective immediately.

Christie’s reacts to premium change

04 September 2017

Christie’s has reacted quickly to rival Sotheby’s announcement of a new premium structure (ATG No 2306) by increasing its own buyer’s premium.

Christie’s buyer’s premium

Christie’s increases buyer’s premium

29 August 2017

Auction house Christie’s has raised its buyer’s premium. The latest changes to the thresholds follow Sotheby’s announcement of a new premium structure last week.

Sotheby's New York

Sotheby’s scraps buyer’s premium fee for online-only auctions

22 August 2017

Auction house Sotheby’s is to scrap buyer’s premium – the fee paid to the firm by those who buy at auction – for its online-only sales.

ATG letters: When and why auctioneers should give discounts on buyer's premium

14 August 2017

MADAM – I write regarding the ban on passing on the cost of credit card transaction fees in our credit (debt)-obsessed society (ATG No 2302).

Letters to the Editor: it's time sellers, not just buyers, benefited from transparency

10 April 2017

In the debate about transparency of auctioneer fees, sparked by the Advertising Standards Authority December 2016 ruling that buyer's premium needs clearer promotion, the point of view of vendors needs to be heard too, three letter writers argue.

ASA DIRECTIVE image 27-02-17.jpg

Auction Technology Group issues guidance to auctioneers on advertising standards for print publications

27 February 2017

Auction Technology Group, parent company of Antiques Trade Gazette, has issued guidance to auctioneers on how to display fees and charges alongside estimates.

The Advertising Standards Authority

Advertising Standards Authority says auctioneers ‘should be clearer on fees’

03 January 2017

The Advertising Standards Authority has said auctioneers need to be clearer when presenting their commission rates.

Sotheby’s increases buyer’s premium

17 October 2016

Sotheby’s has increased its buyer’s premium with the changes effective from November 13.