Christie's | Fine Art Auction House


  • Auction estimates, consignments & seller's premium

Auction estimates, consignments & seller's premium

How do I request an auction estimate for my property? First, find out whether Christie's sells your type of property.  To do this, you may want to consult our Sale Categories listing; contact the specialist of the Invitation to Consign feature that seems to sell your kind of property; or visit our popular Auction Estimates service to send images of your property and request an auction estimate at no charge. All estimates are provisional and subject to revision on personal examination by a specialist. Property submitted must be owned outright by the party seeking an estimate of value. Allow 4-6 weeks for a response.

Can I bring in my property for an estimate? You can bring your property to a Christie's saleroom near you during business hours, Monday - Friday.  However, to ensure that a specialist will be available to examine your property, we strongly advise that you make an appointment.  Under no circumstances should you ship property to us or leave property at Christie's without first discussing it with one of our specialists. Did you know that our specialists travel extensively in search of new property. Some of these travels may take them to your city of residence or a location near you. Here is their itinerary to find out.

How long is it from consignment to auction? To allow sufficient time for research, cataloguing and photography, each auction has a consignment deadline, or closing date, or typically 2-3 months before the scheduled auction.

What is Christie’s seller’s premium (commission)? Christie's operates a sliding scale of commission rates based on combined annual sales of property. The seller (consignor) may also be charged for illustration, restoration, shipping, handling and other services. VAT and other taxes may be due on such fees for auctions outside the US. Commission rates vary in Christie's salerooms in Europe and Asia, while Christie's Paris offers the choice of an all-inclusive rate that includes illustration and freight charges. Other commission rates apply for the trade and non-profit institutions. Please contact the saleroom for further details.

What is a reserve? A reserve is the minimum price the seller (consignor) is willing to accept and below which the seller’s property will not be sold.  The seller (consignor) and Christie's mutually agree on an appropriate reserve, which is confidential but may not exceed the low estimate.  Unless otherwise indicated, property sold at Christie's is offered subject to a reserve.

What is a consignment agreement? The consignment agreement is a contract between the seller (consignor) and Christie’s agreeing to sell the consignor’s property in one of the house’s auctions.  The consignment agreement lists Christie's terms and fees for services such as insurance/loss damage liability, shipping and illustration.

Who arranges the shipping of property to be sold? After agreeing to consign property, you may choose to bring the property to Christie’s yourself, arrange with your own shipper to deliver to us, or request Christie's assistance to organize shipment.

How will I find out the sale price of my property? Soon after the auction Christie's mails out a post-sale notification listing the final bid price or, in the event that the property failed to sell, a notification that your property was bought in.

What if my property fails to sell? The specialist in charge can offer advice on whether to re-offer the property or to arrange its return. Please be advised that for collection of unsold and unoffered lots, the seller (consignor) must first confirm and settle any outstanding charges.

When will I receive payment? Christie's sends payments to consignors approximately 35 days after each auction, assuming that the successful bidder has paid Christie's.  Consignor payments are accompanied by settlement statements itemizing the commission and any other charges.