How to buy and sell at auction

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About
The public forum of the auction room and the intrinsically competitive aspect of bidding for lots often creates an atmosphere of tension and excitement in the saleroom in which it is easy for inexperienced participants to get carried away. The online-only format—which attempts to replicate the live auction environment—differs in that all lots are sold at exactly the same moment. The excitement of an online auction sale is greatest in the last 30 minutes before the auction closes. All the information required about a particular auction is published in the auction catalogue, including details of the lots, estimated prices, conditions of sale, and other general information on such matters as delivery charges, premiums, and other additions to the hammer price such as taxes and duties payable where applicable. Most auctioneers charge a buyer’s premium at a house rate that is normally between 10 and 22.5% of the hammer price, and a seller’s premium which can be negotiated with the auction house and varies according to the amount sold. The internet auction format has taken catalogues one step further, providing potential buyers with instant information regarding vintage conditions, regional information, and tasting notes.