Public Auction Costs

April 3, 2009

I've always been told that if I wanted to sell my collection at any time the best way to sell would be to use one of the big auction houses and consign my collection for sale at their next public auction. This sounds like the best way to go as buyers can freely view the items at pre-sale viewings and you are selling to a specific customer base brought in by the reputation of the auction house.

Did you ever think how much this was going to cost and how much the auction houses were actually going to take out of my pocket and the buyers??

To list your items in a public auction here's what you'll pay:

  • A fixed listing fee for each lot submitted

  • A percentage rate of the final sale price

Here's what the customer will pay:

  • A buyers premium (commission charge) which is a % on top of the sale price

  • Payment by credit card will incur a fee

  • Shipping and handling charges

  • A service charge on any overdue accounts

The auction houses do have their marketing costs such as the costs printing of the catalogues to take into account but think about how much they will make out of the sale of your collection.
At the very minimum they will make:

  1. $7 per lot listed from you AND

  2. 15-20% sellers charge on sale price AND

  3. 15-20% buyers fee

Just out of interest the buyers premium for a public auction sale back in 1999 was as low as 5%! It's crazy how much these costs have increased.

Of course if you have a high ticket item for sale the auction houses can be open to negotiation on their fees.

There are always positive and negative scenarios for each methods of selling buy it's no wonder people are steering towards sites such as eBay to sell their items, even with their fees it seems it's still cheaper than selling at an auction house.

Posted by harrisk at April 3, 2009 4:39 PM
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