Glossary of Auction Terms

Please find below a list of terms frequently used in the auction world.

Absentee Bid/Commission Bid
A method of bidding for those who cannot or do not wish to attend an auction. Absentee bids are also called “written,” “commission” or “order” bids and may be placed by filling out and submitting an Absentee Bid Form.

Addendum
A listing of additional lots not listed in the catalogue, amendment or addition to the conditions of a sale. This may be a written notice in addition to the catalogue, or announced at the auction.

Artist Resale Right (or Droit de Suite)
According to the European Union’s Artist’s Resale Right Directive, which has been adopted by the United Kingdom, living artists and artists who died within 70 years prior to the date of the sale are entitled to receive a resale royalty each time their art work is sold by an art market professional in the European Union or United Kingdom, subject to certain conditions. Anthemion Auctions will collect the resale royalty due to the artists or their estates from buyers of lots with a hammer price in excess of €1000. Any purchaser of a lot to which Artist’s Resale Right applies will be charged the amount of the resale royalty, which will be added to the invoice.

As Is
Anthemion Auctions offers all property for sale at auction “as is,” meaning that the property is sold with all existing faults and imperfections. We encourage potential buyers to inspect each item carefully before bidding.

Auctioneer
A trained professional who presides over the auction, initiating the sale of a lot by describing the item and starting the bidding. Once the first bid is made, others may offer higher bids. Bidders may be present in the saleroom, on the phone or online. Auctioneers also place bids on behalf of absentee bidders and finally determine when the highest bid has been made.

Auction contract
A contract between the auction house and the vendor which lays out the terms under which the auction house will sell the vendor’s items.

Bid
The amount a prospective buyer signals the auctioneer he/she would pay to buy the lot during bidding. Bids can be from people in the room, online, on the phone or through Absentee bid forms.

Bid Increment
The amount by which the auctioneer increases the bidding.

Buyer’s Premium
The amount above the hammer price that is paid as part of the total purchase price. See our Buyer’s Premium rates here.

Cataloguing
Factual information about a lot offered for sale, such as the name of the artist or maker, a detailed description of the object, the year of its creation, its provenance, major exhibitions in which it has appeared and publications in which it has been documented. This information is published in the auction catalogue, in both the print and online editions.

Condition Report
A written description of the condition of a work. The report covers such things as repairs, damage, and overall state of the object. The condition report is a guide for prospective purchasers and is not a guarantee.

Designation
The vendor of a lot is sometimes identified through a designation line, which appears at the beginning of a catalogue entry. The designation, which appears at the discretion of the vendor, may identify the current owner by name or through a descriptive title, such as “Property of a Distinguished Welsh Collector.”

Estimate
Each lot is given a low and high estimate, representing the opinion of our expert(s) about the range in which the lot might sell at auction. Estimates are based on the examination of an item and recent auction records of comparable pieces. Published in our online and printed catalogue, an estimate provides prospective buyers with an important preliminary guide to value.

Exhibition History
A listing of museum or gallery exhibitions in which a given lot has appeared. Inclusion in important exhibitions may impact the value of the object.

Expert
Another term for a specialist who is an expert in specific fields of collecting. These experts do not necessarily work directly for Anthemion Auctions, however may be consulted due to their knowledge on specialist subjects.

Fair Market Value
A term frequently used by appraisers referring to their judgment and opinion about an object’s likely sale price if offered by a willing seller to a willing buyer. Since the auction process is open to all bidders, a sale at auction is considered to be a measure of Fair Market Value.

Fair Warning
A warning sometimes given by the auctioneer that the hammer is about to come down on a lot. The fair warning offers one last chance to increase the bidding. If there are no subsequent bids, the auctioneer’s hammer falls and the sale is completed.

Gavel
Another name for the auctioneer’s hammer used to close the bidding.

Hammer Price
The winning bid for a lot at auction. It is the price upon which the auctioneer’s hammer falls, determining the sale price, but does not include the buyer’s premium.

Knocked Down
An auction house term for the hammer coming down and ending the bidding, as in, “The lot was knocked down at $1 million.”

Lot
An individual object or group of objects offered for sale at auction, as a single unit.

Lot Number
A separate number assigned to each item/lot in a sale. Lot numbers identify objects in the catalogue. This number will be displayed on the lot, along with the sale number, auction house name & a reference number which helps identify the vendor.

Paddle
An object displaying the number assigned to a bidder when he or she registers at the auction. To place a bid, simply raise your paddle until the auctioneer acknowledges you. If you win the lot, your paddle number is recorded alongside your bid. To pay for your purchase, you will need to bring your paddle to the Payments counter.

Pass/Unsold
Terms used by the auctioneer when an item fails to reach its reserve at auction.

Photography
Every work that goes to into our Fine Sales auctions is professionally photographed by Anthemion Auctions for documentary and promotional purposes. Photographs appear in our online and print catalogues for these sales, and are an important way for buyers to identify lots that they wish to acquire.

Provenance
An important part of the authentication process, provenance establishes the chain of ownership back (if possible) to the date an item was created. Provenance can significantly impact the value of an object.

Reserve or Reserve Price
Never formally disclosed, the reserve price is the confidential minimum price agreed upon between the vendor and Anthemion Auctions. Reserves must be set at or below the low estimate, and if bidding ends before the reserve is reached, the property will not be sold.

Results
A listing of Hammer Prices is published after each sale, for all sold lots.

Rostrum
Where the Auctioneer stands during the auction.

Sale Number
Every auction at Anthemion Auctions is given a unique number to distinguish it from previous and subsequent sales of similar properties. The sale number appears in every e-catalogue and on the inside cover of print catalogues, among other places.

Seller’s Commission
A commission paid by the vendor to Anthemion Auctions, which is deducted from the hammer price.

Telephone Bidding
Many buyers prefer to bid via phone, using an Anthemion Auctions representative who is present at the auction to relay bids to the auctioneer on their behalf.

Valuation
A detailed description and current value of property prepared by Anthemion Auctions’ valuer(s). Valuations, which differ from auction estimates, are used for a variety of needs, including charitable contribution, collateral loans, estate taxes, estate planning and insurance.

VAT
Value Added Tax, which is added onto the buyer’s premium, Seller’s commission and online premium.

Vendor
The owner who is transferring property to Anthemion Auctions to act as agent on his or her behalf for sale. The vendor can be a private individual, fiduciary, dealer or company.

Vendor Reference Number
A unique, confidential number issued to a vendor used to identify the property they have consigned for auction.

Viewing Day(s)
In the days leading up to an auction the auction house will be open to members of the public to view the lots in the upcoming sale. Currently Monthly General sales have viewing days on the Tuesday before the sale, from 09:00 – 18:30, and on the day of the sale between 09:00 – 10:45.

Viewing for a Fine Art, Antique and Collectors’ Sale  currently are on the Monday before the sale between 09:00 – 17:00, the Tuesday before the sale, from 09:00 – 18:30, and on the day of the sale between 09:00 – 10:45.

Withdrawn Lot
An item which has been catalogued for sale, but which is subsequently taken back by the vendor or removed from the sale at the direction of the Auctioneer/Specialist.