Buying at Cheffins auctions has never been easier. There are a number of ways to bid at our auctions - either in person at the sale or by placing an absentee bid, booking a telephone line or bidding online live during the auction. We hope you find our Buying Guide informative. Please do contact us if you’re unsure of anything.

Browsing our catalogues is a great way to discover more about what’s coming up in future sales. Of course once the sale is on view, visit our salerooms to see what’s on offer for yourself.  The catalogues cover basic descriptions of lots, including information on size, date or age, medium, type, attribution, quantity and so on, and most lots will carry a pre-sale estimate. These can be based on prices recently paid at auction for comparable property, and will take into account rarity, condition, quality and provenance. The reserve is the price below which a lot will not sell, but since it is confidential it is not published in the catalogue, but the reserve will never exceed the lower estimate.

We would always encourage you to talk to our Specialists, who will always be happy to discuss any lot in greater detail and guide you through the auction process.  If you are unable to attend the sale in person, you can request a Condition Report, these supplement the catalogue description and provide guidance on a lot’s condition. The absence of a condition report in our online catalogue does not necessarily imply that a lot is in good condition, and we would always recommend coming to the saleroom and looking at a lot for yourself, especially in the case of more valuable items.

You may see that some lots have a symbol next to the lot number, this can indicate a variety of things, such as artists resale rights, VAT being applicable on top of the hammer price or a reference to a particular collection within the sale.

Bidding at auction has never been easier, there are four ways to buy offering you convenience and flexibility whether you are able to attend the auction in person or not. Of course, in the saleroom, you will experience the buzz, and atmosphere of bidding in a live auction, and to do so is simple, just arrive in time to register at our reception. If you haven’t bid with us before you’ll need to bring some form of photographic identification such as a driver’s licence or passport.

If you are unable to attend in person, then you can bid live online, allowing you to see and hear the auction in progress giving you a real time link into the saleroom direct from your computer or mobile device. You can register for this service via our website.  Alternatively, you may wish to book a telephone line, enabling you to talk directly to a Cheffins’ member of staff in the auction itself who will relay progress back to you and, on your instruction, bid on your behalf. Please arrange a telephone line at least 24 hours before the sale, and bear in mind that booking a line commits you to bidding at least within estimate should the bidding reach that level.

If you are unable to attend the auction or are not available to participate either online or on the telephone, you can always leave an absentee or commission bid, this is simply your maximum bid, and the auctioneer will execute this for you, endeavouring to buy for as little as any other bids or reserves allow. To leave a bid or register online, please register on our website or call us +44 (0)1223 213 343. All bids are confirmed via email where available.

If you are successful you will pay the hammer price plus buyer’s premium on each lot, this is charged at 25% + VAT (30%) of the hammer price. We will email you an invoice post sale with details on how to pay, and every invoice contains a link to a secure online payment platform for maximum efficiency.

Postage and Packaging

Once you have paid for your lot you can take it home or arrange for it to be delivered. For Jewellery, Silver & Watches sales only we may be able to provide postage and packaging services within the UK for small items such as uncased jewellery and uncased watches at £20 + VAT, which will be sent via Royal Mail special delivery up to the maximum insured value of £2,500 (including buyer’s premium) and a maximum package weight of 5kg.

While we will endeavour to ensure that all items are safely and securely packed, we cannot accept liability for any loss or damage whilst goods are in transit.

Please note, where multiple purchases are made in the same auction, we will endeavour to combine packaging.  For items over 5kg and/or the maximum value of £2,500, Mail Boxes Etc., Alban Shipping, Bonar & Son or JenTel Packing regularly collect from Cheffins and will offer cartage to international and domestic locations. They will be pleased to provide prompt individual quotations directly.