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Last August the auction house announced plans to scrap buyer’s premium for its online-only sales, to entice new buyers.

The change took effect in September but it has now decided to partially reverse this and from this month auctioneers at the company will be able to choose whether they charge fees for lots offered at online-only auctions.

A Sotheby’s spokesperson said: “After a period of experimentation, we wanted to give our specialists more flexibility in pricing, and so the decision has been passed back to them. As of April 1, decisions on buyer’s premium will be decided on a case-by-case basis and clearly messaged to our bidders.”

The main reason for the change was the challenge of estate sales.

In these large sales the lots will be auctioned both via live auctions for highervalue lots and through online-only sales for the lower value. The division of fees could confuse buyers and sellers.