How to sell at auction

Selling at auction can be a great way to get the best value. Through an auction house your items are offered for sale and the market decides what they are worth.

Auction lot

Selling your items at auctions allows bidders to compete for them at a live sale – and it’s exciting to watch the auction on thesaleroom.com to see whether they will sell over the auctioneer’s estimate.

The competition among bidders should ensure that every lot finds its true market value.

And that can mean money back to you, particularly if the auction house you choose is one that uses thesaleroom.com. Not only will the auction house’s regular customers who visit its premises or bid on the phone be able to vie for your items but also bidders from all around the world who use our website to place their bids online will be involved. The more bidders there are, the more likely your items will sell well.

Finding an auction house

If you decide to sell at auction the first thing to do is to find an auction house that suits your needs. First, browse our directory of auctioneers that use thesaleroom.com. You might want to use a firm local to you or you might want to choose one that holds specialist sales relevant to the items you wish to sell.

For example, if you have some fine jewellery then you might want to use an auction house that holds regular specialist jewellery sales. Whereas if you are offering a range of lower value items from, say, a house clearance then your local auction house is likely to be a good first port of call.

Please note that you cannot use thesaleroom.com yourself to sell items; they must be offered for sale by an auction house that uses our website.

That’s because thesaleroom.com is not an auction house, it is a marketplace website that enables auctioneers to list and broadcast their auctions online to bidders like yourself all over the world. The lots listed on our site are consigned from private customers like yourself, to our auctioneers.

Auction search

Choosing to sell your items at an auction house that uses thesaleroom.com can mean that bidders from around the world may bid online for them.

What happens when you sell at auction?

Typically, a valuer working for the auction house will provide you with a valuation and advise you on the most suitable auction for your items.

If you decide to submit your items to auction (known as consigning), the auction house will guide you through the process. It will ask you to sign a consignment agreement which details the auction house's terms and conditions – always read it carefully and ask about which charges will apply to your items.

The auctioneer will usually charge you a percentage of the hammer price, known as the vendor's premium. So, for example, if an item sold on your behalf made a hammer price of £100 and the auction house's vendor's premium is 20% then you would receive £80 (£100 minus 20% of £100).

This is how auction houses earn their living and is not something to be worried about – they do not buy the goods from you, sell them and keep the money; they sell the items on your behalf, charge you for the service and return the vast majority of the selling price to you.

The auction house will catalogue your items, conduct a marketing campaign for the auction to attract bidders, upload photos and lot descriptions to thesaleroom.com, people will come to its premises to view the items and, come the day of live auction itself, bidders from all over the world may be competing to buy your stuff.

Selling at auction can be great fun. Will your items sell for more than the auctioneer’s estimate?

It’s always an exciting journey to find out. Good luck!

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