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 make gains but decide to up their premium

19 May 2008

CONTEMPORARY art may still be heading skywards, but the imminent buyer’s premium rate increases – and Sotheby’s latest set of results – show that pressure at the margins is as intense as ever.

Details of the premium rise

19 May 2008

As of June 1, Sotheby’s auctions in New York and London will be subject to new buyer’s premium thresholds that will hit further buyers of ‘middle range’ art and antiques.

Clarice Cliff collectors defect to the Midlands over buyer’s premium hike

18 December 2007

Midlands auctioneers Fieldings and the Clarice Cliff Collectors’ Club (CCCC) are to join forces to hold sales of the avidly collected Art Deco pottery.

Clarice Cliff collectors protest against premium hike

29 October 2007

Collectors of Clarice Cliff have voiced their opposition to increased auctioneers’ charges with some refusing to attend Christie’s latest sale of the popular Art Deco pottery.

Tennants premium

28 August 2007

Leyburn auctioneers Tennants have standardised their buyer’s premium rates across their sales.

Lawyers believe auction houses face growing legal risk over premium

28 August 2007

Sotheby’s match Christie’s with 25% premium on lots sold below £10,000

Christie’s premium hits 25%

27 July 2007

Third threshold won’t hurt South Kensington says director

Bonhams follow suit on premiums

12 February 2007

Bonhams have changed their buyer’s premium rates globally to match Sotheby’s and Christie’s with immediate effect.

Christie’s match Sotheby’s on new buyer’s premium rates

05 February 2007

CHRISTIE’S have announced that they are raising their 20 per cent buyer’s premium threshold from £100,000 ($200,000) to £250,000 ($500,000). The move matches that made by Sotheby’s in mid January.

20% premium on every lot under £250,000 at Sotheby’s

22 January 2007

Dramatic rise in threshold points to battle royal for top end of market

Woolley & Wallis up premium

02 September 2006

Salisbury auctioneers Woolley & Wallis are putting up their buyer’s premium from 15 to 17.5 per cent plus VAT.

New owner at Cottees cuts charges by a third or more

25 July 2006

DORSET auctioneers Cottees are under new ownership and have bucked the trend of rising charges in the saleroom by cutting both their buyer’s premium and vendor’s charges.

Improved commission margins help Sotheby’s prosper as sales fall

16 August 2005

Despite a substantial fall in total sales, increases in buyer’s premium and vendor’s commission margins helped Sotheby’s post record revenues for the second quarter of 2005.

L&T change premium structure

27 April 2005

Edinburgh auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull have announced substantial changes to their buyer’s premium structure.

Nicholson to raise premium

07 February 2005

Following the lead of The Fine Art Auction Group, Fernhurst auctioneers John Nicholson are to increase their buyer’s premium from 15 to 17.5 per cent.

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Sleepers and sale charges underline the pluses for country rooms.

25 January 2005

Lawrences, Bletchingley Buyer’s premium: 12.5 per centTHE unceasing campaign among provincial auctioneers to bring the right material to the rostrum is, perhaps, tougher the nearer one is to London. However, salerooms outside the capital can compete both on vendors’ charges and by accepting pieces turned down by the metropolitan’s top three.

Auction group up premium across network

18 January 2005

The Fine Art Auction Group have raised their buyer’s premium across their network of provincial salerooms.

…as Christie’s fall into line with Sotheby’s

18 January 2005

Christie’s are to modify their buyer’s premium structure to fall in line with their biggest rival.

Sotheby’s to change premium thresholds

22 December 2004

Sotheby’s are to change the thresholds of their buyer’s premium structure from January 1, 2005.

Christie’s to match Sotheby’s on premium: Paris will see steepest rise

08 December 2004

CHRISTIE'S are to increase their buyer’s premium. With effect from January 1, 2005, the current 19.5 per cent premium which is charged on the first £70,000/$100,000/€110,000 will increase by 0.5 per cent to 20 per cent at almost all Christie’s sites.

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