Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Selling art through an auction house

If you have work you would like to sell at an auction house, contact the specialist that deals with the type of work you are selling. Submit photographs of the artwork and information such as artist, title, size, medium, date and provenance so the specialist can evaluate the work. Auction houses give free estimates to establish the auction value.

If the work is accepted, the auction house will recommend an appropriate season and venue. You will need to fill out a consignment agreement that states the terms of the sale, the reserve price and the commission details. The work then needs to go to the auction house for cataloging and photography.

The charges associated with selling at auction are shipping, framing, buyer’s premium and commissions, illustration fee for reproduction in catalogues, insurance charges and possible buy back charges. Sellers pay the auction house a commission that is deducted, along with any expenses, from the hammer price.

Shortly after the sale, a sale’s result form will be sent to you with information regarding the final sales price, the seller's commission and other charges that were agreed upon. Payment should be received within 35 days of the sale. However, the seller’s payment is subject to the buyer's payment being received. It is sometimes possible for a seller to achieve better prices when selling at auction. Other times, the work may not sell at all.

Regardless of whether or not the auction house successfully sells your work at auction, the auction house still takes the associated fees.