Buying at Auction

We are dedicated to making buying at our auctions as open, straightforward and enjoyable as possible. Help is always at hand, with highly experienced specialists giving important advice and trained professional staff to guide you through the process.

Catalogues

Our lavishly illustrated auction catalogues feature thoroughly researched and detailed descriptions written by our specialist team. Catalogues are published online and available in printed format between two to four weeks ahead of each sale. Auction dates can be found on our Auction Calendar

Additional Information, Images and Condition reports

Further information on lots for sale can be provided once the online and printed catalogues are available. We are pleased to provide further detailed images, condition reports and to answer specific requests on individual lots where possible. Please note that we will endeavour to respond to all enquiries but we cannot do so if time or other circumstances do not allow. Your attention is drawn to our Important Information for Buyers under our Conditions of Business.

Viewing in advance of the sale

Every lot in each sale is available for examination in the auction location at least two days ahead of each auction. Pre-sale exhibitions are typically held on the preceding Sunday 12.00-16.00, Monday 10.00-19.00 and Tuesday 10.00-16.00. Please see our Auction Calendar for details of viewing times for each auction.

We take the issue of provenance, ownership and art crime seriously. We work closely with art world professionals to maintain the highest standards and make every effort to check consigned works against the relevant databases including Interpol and The Art Loss Register.

Bidding at Auction

Definition “Auctioneers” (Thomas Del Mar Ltd, Matthew Barton Ltd and Olympia Auctions Ltd). For other auctioneers at Olympia Auctions, such as Charles Miller Ltd, please see their website for their Conditions of Business.

Prospective buyers may participate in the auction in person, by leaving a commission/absentee bid, by telephone bidding or by bidding online through one of the platforms offered for the relevant sale. You will need to register at our saleroom for a numbered paddle in order to bid in person during the auction. We strongly recommend that absentee and telephone bids are arranged at least 24 hours in advance of the auction. Please complete the Absentee Bidding form below or contact us to arrange a telephone line. While we make every effort to accommodate telephone bidding we cannot guarantee telephone lines for every lot in each sale. Please note that if you have not dealt with us before, we will need a copy of photographic ID which confirms your address (or photographic ID and separate proof of address).

Lots purchased through live online bidding platforms such as Saleroom.com, Invaluable.com and Liveauctioneers.com incur a surcharge.  Please see the relevant online auction platforms websites for their surcharge details.

 

Payment

Payment is due in sterling at the conclusion of the sale and before purchases can be released. Please note that we require seven days to clear sterling cheques unless special arrangements have been made in advance of the sale. The Auctioneers are pleased to accept UK debit cards; we can no longer take payment from credit cards and international debit cards. Cash and UK registered debit card payments above £6,000 and "card holder not present" payments above £2,000 will not be accepted without prior arrangement.

Electronic transfers may be sent directly to the relevant bank account:

Thomas Del Mar Ltd

HSBC Bank Plc
38 High Street
Dartford
Kent
DA1 1DG
United Kingdom

IBAN Number: GB18HBUK40190481632140

BIC: HBUKGB4B

Sort Code: 40-19-04

Account Number: 81632140

Account Name: Thomas Del Mar Ltd

VAT Registration Number: 867924960

Matthew Barton Ltd

HSBC Bank Plc
38 High Street
Dartford
Kent
DA1 1DG
United Kingdom

IBAN Number: GB90HBUK40190491814001

BIC: HBUKGB4B

Sort Code: 40-19-04

Account No: 91814001

Account Name: Matthew Barton Ltd

VAT Registration Number: 972118224

Olympia Auctions Ltd

HSBC Bank
38 High Street
Dartford
Kent
DA1 1DG
United Kingdom

IBAN Number: GB39HBUK4019042203319

BIC: HBUKGB4B

Sort Code: 40-19-04

Account Number: 22033119

Account Name: Olympia Auctions Ltd

VAT Registration Number: 144181627

Charges

All charges are applied in sterling unless otherwise specified.

Each lot is subject to a Buyer’s Premium of 24%. The Buyer’s Premium is subject to VAT at the standard rate (currently 20%). Unless otherwise indicated lots are offered for sale under the auctioneer’s margin scheme and VAT on the Buyer’s Premium is payable by all Buyers.

Lots purchased through live online bidding platforms such as Saleroom.com, Invaluable.com and Liveauctioneers.com incur a surcharge. Please see the relevant online auction platforms websites for their surcharge details.

Other charges, such as VAT on the hammer price and Artist's Resale Right, may also be applicable. Please ensure that you are aware of all additional charges in advance of the sale, so that you can plan your bidding accordingly. The following codes will be found by the lot number in print and PDF versions of the catalogue:

For lots imported from OUTSIDE the EU, the following VAT symbols are used:

'‡' For items over 100 years old: Import VAT of 5% payable on the hammer price. VAT at the standard rate of 20% is payable on the buyer’s premium.

'Ω' For items under 100 years old: Import VAT of 20% payable on the hammer price. VAT at the standard rate of 20% is also payable on the buyer’s premium.

'†' For lots sold from WITHIN the EU, if the vendor is VAT registered and not using the Auctioneers Special Scheme, full VAT at 20% is levied on the hammer price and premium.

Artist Resale Right

The Artist’s Resale Right (ARR) entitles creators (‘authors’) of original works of art (including paintings, engravings, sculpture and ceramics) to a royalty each time one of their works is resold through an auction house or art market professional.

The right to this royalty lasts for the same period as copyright, so since January 2012 ARR has applied to qualifying works by artists who have been dead for fewer than 70 years.

ARR derives from a European Directive and came into force in the UK in 2006. The right only applies when the sale price reaches or exceeds the sterling equivalent of €1,000 and is calculated on a sliding scale.

'•' For lots marked with the symbol '•' that are sold for a Hammer Price of  €1,000 or greater (converted into GBP using the European Central Bank Reference rate prevailing on the Auction End date) an additional premium will be payable by the Buyer to cover the payment of royalties under the Artist Resale Right Regulations 2006. The additional premium will be a percentage of the amount of the Hammer Price calculated in accordance with the table below, and shall not exceed the equivalent of €12,500.

Royalty

Resale price

  • up to €50,000 - 4%
  • between €50,000.01 and €200,000 - 3%
  • between €200,000.01 and €350,000 - 1%
  • between €350,000.01 and €500,000 - 0.5%
  • in excess of €500,000 - 0.25%

This scale is also cumulative in much the same way as income tax is calculated. For example, the royalty payable for an artwork sold for €200,000 would amount to €6,500. This is calculated as follows:

1st tier €0 to €50,000 will attract a royalty of 4% ie €2,000

2nd tier €50,001 to €200,000 will attract a royalty of 3%, i.e. €4,500

Royalties are also capped so that the total amount of the royalty paid for any single sale of a work cannot exceed €12,500.

ARR is exempt of VAT.

Further information is available here

Ivory and Restricted Materials (CITES)

‘~’ Lots marked with the symbol ~ have been identified at the time of cataloguing as containing organic material which may be subject to restrictions regarding import or export. As the Auctioneers of these articles, the Auctioneers undertake to comply fully with CITES and DEFRA regulation. Buyers are advised to inform themselves of all such regulations and should expect the exportation of items to take some time to arrange. The information is made available for the convenience of the Bidder and the absence of the symbol is not a warranty that there are no restrictions regarding import or export of the Lot. The Auctioneers accept no liability for any lots which may be subject to CITES but have not been identified as such.

Premium Lots

‘ø’ Lots marked with the symbol ‘ø’ are “Premium Lots” and prospective bidders must complete the required Premium Lot preregistration application and deliver to the Auctioneers such necessary financial references, guarantees, deposits and/or such other security as the Auctioneers may in their absolute discretion require, as security for the bid. The Auctioneers' decision whether to accept any pre-registration application shall be final. We recommend you contact the Auctioneers at least 3 working days prior to the relevant sale in order to process the pre-registration, and please bear in mind that we are unable to obtain financial references over weekends or public holidays. Online bidding services are not available for premium lots.

Cataloguing Practice

PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL MEASUREMENTS ARE APPROXIMATE AND THAT ILLUSTRATIONS ARE NOT TO SCALE

Condition is not normally recorded and all lots are sold as viewed. Condition reports can be requested prior to sale. Whilst the Auctioneers are pleased to provide a general report of condition, the Auctioneers are not professional conservators or restorers and any statements made are merely subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective Buyers should satisfy themselves in person wherever possible as to the condition of a lot, or ask an agent to inspect it for them.

Ceramics

Obvious faults may be recorded in italics at the end of a description for ceramics.

Clocks and Watches

All Lots are sold ‘as is’, and the absence of any reference to the condition of a clock or watch does not imply that the Lot is in good condition and without defects, repairs or restorations. Most clocks and watches have been repaired in the course of their normal lifetime and may now incorporate parts not original to them. Furthermore, the Auctioneers make no representation or warranty that any clock or watch is in working order. As clocks and watches often contain fine and complex mechanisms, the Bidder should be aware that a general service, change of battery or further repair work, for which the Buyer is solely responsible, may be necessary. The Bidder should be aware that the importation of watches such as Rolex, Frank Muller and Corum into the United States is highly restricted. These watches may not be shipped to the USA and can only be imported personally.

Display Accessories

Please note that armour stands and many of the display mounts used in the catalogue(s) and the sale exhibition(s) may be made available to the successful Buyer of the relevant lot(s).  Please contact us for prices and further details.

Firearms

Please note that all bore sizes are approximate.

Jewellery

It is common practice for many gemstones to be treated by a variety of methods to enhance their appearance and the international jewellery trade has generally accepted these methods. Although heat enhancement of colour is usually permanent, in some cases this could affect the durability of a gemstone.  Oiled gemstones may need re-oiling after a certain period. If no gemmological report is published in the catalogue, prospective Buyers should be aware that the gemstones or pearls could have been enhanced by some method.

Photographs (in addition to explanations of categorising terms in relation to works Attributed to….. artists as stated in our Cataloguing Practice).

‘The date given is that of the image (negative). Where no further date is given, this indicates that the photographic print is vintage (the term ‘vintage’ may also be included in the Lot description). A vintage photograph is one which was made within approximately 5-10 years of the negative. Where a second, later date appears, this refers to the date of printing. Where the exact printing date is not known, but understood to be printed later, ‘printed later’ will appear in the Lot description.

Unless otherwise specified, dimensions given are those of the piece of paper on which the image is printed, including any margins. Some photographs may appear in the Catalogue without margins illustrated.

All photographs are sold unframed unless stated in the Lot description.

Pictures

A work catalogued with the name(s) or recognised designation of an artist, without any qualification, is, in our opinion, a work by the artist. In other cases, the following expressions with the following meanings are used:

“Attributed to……” In our opinion probably a work by the artist in whole or in part.

“Studio of….” “Workshop of….” In our opinion a work executed in the studio or workshop of the artist, possibly under his supervision.

“Circle of….”  In our opinion a work of the period of the artist and showing his influence.

“Follower of…” In our opinion a work executed in the artist’s style but not necessarily by a pupil.

“Manner of….” In our opinion a work executed in the artist’s style but of a later date.

“After….” In our opinion a copy (of any date) of a work of the artist.

“Signed….”, “Dated….”, “Inscribed….” In our opinion the work has been signed/dated/inscribed by the artist. The addition of a question mark (?) adds an element of doubt.

“Bears signature…”, “Bears date….”, “Bears inscription….” In our opinion the signature/date/inscription/stamp is by a hand other than that of the artist.

Silver, Gold and Precious Metals

Weights may only be accurate to within 5 grams. Weights shown as ‘(*oz)’ are in Troy Ounces and usually rounded down to the full ounce.

Collection of Property

You may collect purchased property from us as soon as we have received cleared funds for all your purchases. While we do not offer an in-house shipping service, we are happy to recommend a number of professional art shippers and couriers to purchasers upon request. You may also appoint a third party or a shipper to collect on your behalf. Please note that we require your written authority in order to release to a third party.

Please contact us should you require any assistance with shipping, as we will be happy to assist where possible.

Receipt of purchased property

Once you have received your purchased lot(s) we would appreciate hearing your feedback on the overall service we have provided. It is our aim to bring you the best quality of service and your comments will be an important part in helping us to maintain and improve this.

For further information we recommend that you consult our Conditions of Business.