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.

DNW challenges status quo with premium rise at numismatic sales

05 August 2019

Dix Noonan Webb (DNW) has become the first UK numismatics auction house to set its buyer’s premium beyond 20%. The London coins, medal and jewellery specialist will charge a premium of 24% from September.

Dix Noonan Webb London

Buyer’s premium rise for leading UK coin auctioneer

29 July 2019

Dix Noonan Webb (DNW) has become the first UK numismatics auctioneer to set its buyer’s premium beyond 20%. The London-based coins, medal and jewellery specialist will charge a premium of 24% from September.

ATG letter: Fee rises need to be much clearer

18 March 2019

MADAM – I believe auction houses should make it clear to bidders that buyer’s premium has gone up and the fee does not include VAT.


Bonhams introduces 27.5% premium threshold to "reflect the cost of bringing objects to global auctions”

11 March 2019

Auction house Bonhams has raised its buyer’s premium levels, adding a new threshold of 27.5% on the first £2500/$3000 of the hammer price.


Bonhams becomes latest auction house to raise buyer’s premium

04 March 2019

Auction house Bonhams has raised its buyer’s premium levels effective from today.

Sotheby's New Bond Street

Sotheby’s and Phillips raise buyer’s premium with new rates higher than Christie’s

26 February 2019

Auction house Sotheby’s has increased its buyer’s premium to a level that goes beyond the recent changes announced by Christie’s.

ATG letters: What’s next – an auction room admission fee?

04 February 2019

MADAM – a simple question to auctioneers in general: are you in danger of slowly killing the goose that lays the golden eggs?

Christie’s auction gavels

Christie’s raises buyer’s premium to target 'middle market' and top-end

31 January 2019

Christie’s has raised its buyer’s premium, increasing the level at which its 25% threshold applies and adding an extra percentage point to its charges above £3m. The new schedule takes effect from February 1.


Auctioneer Chris Aston: Why I charge for phone bids

28 January 2019

Fees charged by auctioneers, from buyer’s premium to condition reports, have been a hot topic in the pages of ATG and on social media recently. One reader contacted us regarding the move by a West Midlands auction house to charge winning bidders who have used the phone the same fee as online buyers.

ATG letter: Fees should not penalise those with knowledge

28 January 2019

MADAM – Bearing in mind that auctioneering can be a university qualification (unlike dealing) and is an occupation that charges for its services, should there not be some form of censure and control over firms that get it so wrong?

ATG letter: Seller’s guide would help make a choice

21 January 2019

MADAM – You continue to receive letters from dealers complaining about buyer’s premiums.

ATG letter: In defence of auctioneers and their fees

21 January 2019

MADAM – Various of your correspondents over the last few weeks find that the prospect of paying for a condition report, as well as a buyer’s premium, sticks in their craw.

ATG letters: New year resolutions response – boost ‘brown’, big-up the young and build business confidence

14 January 2019

MADAM – Your new year’s resolutions piece (ATG No 2374) was thought-provoking, citing aspirations and concerns reflecting the current art and antiques market.


ATG letters: Condition reports – fine art auctioneers should learn from philatelics

07 January 2019

MADAM – I write regarding charging for condition reports for lower-value lots.

ATG letter: Would the trade prefer landfill?

10 December 2018

MADAM – I appreciate I had my turn the other day (Letters, ATG No 2369), but a quick note covering two points if I may.

ATG letters: Charging for condition reports is ridiculous as auctioneers don’t know everything

10 December 2018

MADAM – Re: condition report charges at Moore Allen & Innocent for lower-value items.


ATG letters: Auctioneer's condition report fee is an idea that needs to be checked itself

03 December 2018

MADAM – Once again we have an auctioneer defending an increased charge with various excuses given for the necessity (‘Auctioneer to charge for condition reports’, ATG No 2369).

Auctioneer to charge for condition reports

26 November 2018

Cotswold auction house Moore Allen & Innocent is trialling a new operation to encourage more people to attend its saleroom.


ATG letter: Auction house charges – let’s focus on the real issues

19 November 2018

In a letter to ATG, auctioneer Michael Roberts of PFK Penrith defends auction house commissions saying “the majority of regional firms offer a good service, fairly priced”.

ATG letter: All fees charged by auction houses should be ‘crystal clear’

05 November 2018

MADAM – I refer to your article regarding the slight wrist-slap the Advertising Standards Authority gave Christie’s about notification of extra fees charged for services rendered (ATG No 2365).