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.

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.

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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.

Bonhams increase buyer’s premium thresholds

09 September 2016

Bonhams have followed Christie’s in increasing their buyer’s fees by adjusting their premium thresholds.

Buyers’ fees rise at Christie’s as auction house increases premium thresholds

07 September 2016

Christie’s have adjusted their buyer’s premium thresholds, bringing them closer into line but not identical to the rates at rivals Sotheby’s.

Catalogue auction buyers premium

COMMENT – industry split over Advertising Standards Authority probe into auction pricing

12 August 2016

The art and antiques trade has reacted with mixed views over the launch of an investigation into the way auction houses display their commission rates. A number of dealers have told ATG that an investigation into transparency of buyer’s premium is long overdue, while auctioneers have pointed out that the proposed changes would be unnecessary and impractical.

ASA to investigate transparency over auction premiums

27 July 2016

The Advertising Standards Authority have launched an investigation into the way auction houses display their commission rates.

Cottees premium falls for early 2016

31 December 2015

As an introductory offer to their new saleroom near Poole, Cottees will be reducing both their seller’s commission and buyer’s premium to 10% (plus VAT) for the first three months of 2016.

Sotheby’s alter buyer's premium structure

27 January 2015

Sotheby's have announced a new buyer’s premium structure in New York. Effective from February 1, the rates will apply as follows:

Ex-chairman of SOFAA damns 2% success fee

28 October 2014

The chairman of one of the UK’s most successful provincial auction houses has joined the condemnation of Christie’s new 2% success fee, saying he is appalled by it.

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New coin auctioneers offering reduced buyer’s premium

30 May 2014

A newly established firm of numismatic auctioneers, Wilkes & Curtis, are aiming to break into the marketplace by offering a fixed buyer’s premium of 10%.

Premium levels all square again

16 September 2013

Christie’s have announced that from September 30 their main buyer’s premium structure will change to the following:

Rewarding buyers in the saleroom

28 May 2013

Anxious to arrest declining saleroom audiences, Bertoia Auctions in Vineland, New Jersey, chose to axe the buyer’s premium for bidders in the room for their sale on March 16.

Bonhams hold firm on premium

11 March 2013

Bonhams have announced that they will not be following Christie’s and Sotheby’s in raising buyer’s premium thresholds.

Sotheby’s also raise premium, but go further than Christie’s

01 March 2013

Sotheby’s have followed Christie’s in restructuring their buyer’s premiums, but have pushed the thresholds even higher than their rivals in the bid for better yields.

Christie’s bid to squeeze more out of premiums

27 February 2013

Christie’s have announced a new buyer’s premium structure that points to a period of heightened competition.

Bonhams to match Christie’s and Sotheby’s on premium

06 June 2011

BONHAMS have announced that they will increase their buyer’s premium on September 1.