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.


Bonhams review auction charges: Premium changes shift burden off seller and on to buyer

23 March 2004

From April 1 Bonhams will increase the buyer’s premium in their Knightsbridge rooms to bring it in line with that charged at Bond Street.

CSK raise premium

09 February 2004

Christie’s South Kensington increase their buyer’s premium from February 11: The new rate will be 19.5 per cent of the final bid price of each lot up to £70,000 and 12 per cent on the excess of the hammer price above £70,000, the same premium currently charged at Christie’s King Street.

Premium paid for walnut bureau is far from miniature

26 August 2003

There is always a premium placed upon unrestored Georgian walnut. There is equally a premium to be paid for miniature pieces. Combine the two and it explains the level of competition achieved for this 18th century miniature bureau at Woolley & Wallis’s July 15 furniture sale.

Bloomsbury market sale by dropping the premium

23 September 2002

LONDON antiquarian books saleroom Bloomsbury Book Auctions are to sell a major library with no buyer’s premium – partially as a marketing exercise. Managing director Rupert Powell believes this is the first time since the premium was introduced in the 1970s that a British auction house has waived the levy.

Phillips restructure their premiums

23 September 2002

PHILLIPS, de Pury & Luxembourg have raised and restructured their buyer’s premiums.

MP calls for Bill to outlaw the buyer’s premium

01 July 2002

AN MP who has described himself as a lifelong attender of auctions has told Parliament he wants to introduce a Bill that would outlaw the buyer’s premium.

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

15 April 2002

TWO weeks after Sotheby’s raised their buyer’s premium rates for their premier salerooms, Christie’s have matched them. Both companies now charge 19.5% on the first $100,000 and 10 per cent thereafter.

Bonhams restructure charges to attract top-end business

21 March 2002

Bonhams increased the buyer’s premium on their lower price tier for purchases this month. From March 1 a new rate applies of 17.5 per cent (plus VAT) on the first £30,000 and 10 per cent thereafter.

Sotheby’s go for 20% top buyer’s premium rate

13 March 2000

SOTHEBY’S will raise their buyer’s premium on April 1, one day after Christie’s are due to do the same.

Christie's detail new commissions

21 February 2000

CHRISTIE'S had their best ever year in 1999, exceeding the peak of annual turnover achieved at the height of the last art boom.

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