Tips for Your First Art Auction

Buying at auction is one of the most exciting ways of buying art, as it does not come with the intimidation of being in a gallery.

Here are Artscoops Editors tips!

•    Know the lot numbers

Knowing the lot numbers of the artworks you want to buy will allow you to know where in the auction the work will appear saving you time

•    Ask for a condition report
Auction houses in most cases do not return any works. Reports will allow you to know if the work is in good shape, damaged or has previously been restored.

•    Find out the Buyer’s Premium
This is the addition charge on the winning bid (hammer price) of the lot. The buyer’s premium varies from auction house to auction house 15-25% and dependent on the specific amount you are planning to pay.

•    Pre-Register
One can’t just walk in and bid. Some auction houses the process is as simple as filling out a form, others require you to even register online or provide banking details beforehand.

•    Look out for Provenance
Who owned it; was it sold previously elsewhere; was it exhibited before?

•    Bidding Increments
Bidding increments vary – to avoid getting lost come early and ask a member of staff


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