Christie's King Street landscape.jpg
Christie’s has changed its buyer’s premium levels.

The major change at Christie’s (effective from September 21) is the imposition of the standard 25% premium on items up to £450,000 (previously £225,000) and a new premium level of 14.5% charged on hammer prices above £4.5m.

The move sets it apart from Sotheby’s, which in August introduced a new fee called an ‘Overhead Premium’ that is payable by all auction buyers across its salerooms and online auctions globally regardless of the hammer price.

That charge, which is 1% of the hammer price, is on top of the regular buyer’s premium and any other fees such as local taxes and artist’s resale right. As a flat percentage, and not part of the tiered fee structure, it makes the overall fee increase most notable at the top end.

Last year Bonhams added a new threshold of 27.5% on the first £2500/$3000 of the hammer price, with the 25% premium charged between £2500 and £300,000.

Christie’s new level

25% up to £450,000

20% £450,001 to £4.5m

14.5% above £4.5m

Christie’s old level

25% up to £225,000

20% £225,001 to £3m

13.9% above £3m

Sotheby’s

25% up to £300,000

20% £300,001 to £3m

13.9% above £3m

Plus 1% overhead fee

Phillips

25% up to £300,000

20% £300,001 to £3m

13.5% above £3m

Bonhams

27.5% up to £2500

25% £2500 to £300,000

20% £300,000 to £3m

13.9% above £3m

NB. Figures are different for some specialist sales such as wine, cars and coins.