Effective 21 September 2020
A buyer’s premium is payable by the successful buyer of an item at auction, based on the hammer price of each lot sold. The current buyer’s premium rates are an amount equal to 25% of the hammer price of each lot up to and including £450,000/$600,000; plus 20% of the hammer price from £450,001/$600,001 up to and including £4,500,000/$6,000,000 and 14.5% from £4,500,001/$6,000,001. The price thresholds in other currencies have been adjusted in a commensurate manner in the table below.
These rates apply to all auctions, excluding the Wine category, which has a different schedule shown below. Local taxes may be payable on the Buyer’s Premium. See Section F of the Conditions of Sale and VAT Symbols and Explanation at the back of the sale catalogue or at christies.com. All rates are quoted exclusive of local sales taxes, except for Amsterdam and Milan that have VAT-inclusive rates.
Wine sales only
If you still require further assistance while registering to bid, please contact the appropriate Bid Department using the information provided below:
Tel: +31 (0)20 575 5258 / 5950
Fax: +31 (0)20 575 5974
Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060
Fax: +44 (0)20 7389 2869
Tel: +41 (0)22 319 1766
Fax: +41 (0)22 319 1767
Tel: +852 2978 9910
Fax: +852 2973 0136
Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060
Fax: +44 (0)20 7389 2869
Tel: +39 02 303 2831
Fax: +39 02 3032 8369
Tel: +1 212 636 2437
Fax: +1 212 636 4938
Tel: +33 (0)1 40 76 84 13
Fax: +33 (0)1 40 76 85 51
Tel: +86 (0)21 6355 1766
Fax: +86 (0)21 6355 1767
Tel: +41 (0)44 268 10 16
Fax: +41 (0)44 268 10 11
In some countries, including those in the EU, local laws entitle the artist or the artist’s estate to a royalty.
Droit de Suite is a royalty payable to a qualifying artist or the artist's heirs each time a work is re-sold during the artist's lifetime and for a period up to 70 years following the artist's death. Royalties are calculated using a sliding scale of percentages of the sale price.
The rates, qualifying criteria and the person responsible for paying the royalty may vary from country to country. Clients should carefully check for further information in the Conditions of Sale at the back of the sale catalogue, the terms of any online only auction, any private sale agreement and, for France, the auction seller’s agreement.
To address the particular needs of Sellers and in order to ensure that Christie’s is able to offer the best selection of works for sale, Christie’s sometimes enters into special financial arrangements with Sellers, subject to local law requirements. They are offered in response to a demand from our Sellers, including trustees, private clients, foundations and charitable institutions, for certainty around the realisation of their art works’ value. While these arrangements are put in place for the benefit of the Seller, in the interests of transparency, we want to make sure that all our buyers are aware of their existence and understand how they work.
Symbols used alongside the catalogue entry about the lot and their meaning:
° - Christie’s has direct financial interest in the lot
∆ - Owned by Christie’s or another Christie’s Group company in whole or part
♦ - Christie’s has a direct financial interest in the lot and has funded all or part of our interest with the help of someone else
¤ - A party with a direct or indirect interest in the lot who may have knowledge of the lot’s reserve or other material information may be bidding on the lot
λ - Artist’s Resale Right
• - Lot offered without reserve which will be sold to the highest bidder regardless of the pre-sale estimate in the catalogue
What is a minimum price guarantee?
Some Sellers require a measure of certainty around the value of the assets they have consigned to us for sale. In such cases, Christie’s will sometimes agree to guarantee to the Seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the Seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee.
How does a minimum price guarantee work?
While each such arrangement is individually negotiated between the Seller and Christie’s, the structure of minimum price guarantees is typically as follows:
If the lot sells for less than the minimum price guarantee, Christie’s is obliged, in addition to the hammer price, to pay the Seller the difference between the hammer price it sold for at the auction and the minimum price guarantee.
If the lot fails to sell at all, then Christie’s will become the owner of the lot and is obliged to pay the Seller the minimum price guarantee.
The possibility of a work of art failing to sell or selling below the minimum price guarantee is a financial risk. As a reward for taking that risk, if the lot sells for more than the minimum price guarantee, Christie’s receives a proportion of the excess.
How do I know if a lot is subject to a minimum price guarantee?
Lots which are subject to a minimum price guarantee are marked in the catalogue with a º symbol.
Third Party Guarantees
What is a third party guarantee?
Giving a minimum price guarantee to a Seller means that Christie’s is at risk of making a loss if the lot fails to sell. Christie’s therefore sometimes chooses to share that risk with a third party. In return for the third party agreeing to share that risk, Christie’s agrees to pay the third party a fee.
How do third party guarantees work?
Typically, the risk of the loss is shared between Christie’s and the third party by the third party agreeing, before the auction, to place an irrevocable bid on the lot. This is called a third party guarantee. The third party is therefore committed to bidding on the lot and, if there are no other bids, buying the lot at the level of the irrevocable bid. In doing so, the third party takes on risks associated with the minimum price guarantee and with the lot not being sold. In exchange for taking on those risks, Christie's may pay the third party a fee.
On the day of the auction, a third party may decide they wish to bid on the lot over and above their irrevocable written bid. In that situation, the third party must inform Christie’s of their intention to do so. The auctioneer will make a saleroom announcement that the third party may be bidding so that other bidders on that lot are aware that someone with a financial interest may be bidding on the lot. The third party is required by Christie’s to disclose their financial interest to anyone that they are advising about the lot.
How is the third party paid for sharing the risk of the minimum price guarantee?
The amount and existence of compensation to a third party guarantor depends on the nature and extent of the risk being shared. Where Christie's compensates the third party who is the successful bidder, the third party’s remuneration is a fixed financing fee (with the exception of auctions in Hong Kong where no such payments are made). In some instances, Christie's does not compensate a third party guarantor who successfully bids on a work. In situations where the third party is not the successful bidder, the remuneration may either be based on a fixed fee or an amount calculated against the final hammer price.
What does the third party pay if he or she is the successful bidder?
If the third party is the winning bidder – whether through their irrevocable bid or a bid in the room – the third party will be required to pay the whole hammer price and the whole buyer’s premium. Any financing fee paid to the third party is a separate transaction to the sale, reflecting the risk the third party has taken in relation to the minimum price guarantee, however, Christie's will report the final purchase price (i.e., hammer price plus buyer’s premium) for the lot net of such fixed financing fee.
How do I know if a lot is subject to a third party guarantee?
Lots which are subject to a third party guarantee are marked in the catalogue with a º ♦ symbol or may be disclosed during the relevant pre-sale announcements.
Christie’s may enter into other arrangements not involving bids. These include arrangements where Christie’s has given the Seller an Advance on the proceeds of sale of the lot or where Christie’s has shared the risk of a guarantee with a partner without the partner placing a written bid or otherwise participating in the bidding on the lot. Because such arrangements are unrelated to the bidding process they are not marked with a symbol in the catalogue.
Bidding by parties with an interest
When a party with a direct or indirect interest in the lot who may have knowledge of the lot’s reserve or other material information may be bidding on the lot, we will mark the lot with this symbol ¤ in the catalogue or make a saleroom announcement if we become aware of such potential bidding after the catalogue has been printed. This interest can include beneficiaries of an estate that consigned the lot or a joint owner of a lot. Any interested party that successfully bids on a lot must comply with Christie’s Conditions of Sale, including paying the lot’s full Buyer’s Premium plus applicable taxes.
Please note that the availability and terms of these arrangements may vary according to local law requirements.
In order to secure consignments of property and identify private sale and auction sale opportunities, Christie’s sometimes consults or seeks assistance from other art market professionals or third parties. We may pay Introductory Commission to such third parties. In such cases, Christie’s imposes a legal requirement on the third party to disclose their financial interest or relationship to anyone they are acting as agent or adviser to. If you are represented or advised in any transaction you should always ask your representative or adviser to confirm whether or not they have a financial interest in the transaction. If you are in doubt please contact us.
Christie’s is committed to the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. We have a robust AML Programme which is managed by a global Compliance Team. We train all our staff to be vigilant when dealing with unusual transactions; we ensure we take every appropriate step to know our clients and business partners. Our programs include client, transaction and artwork due diligence, monitoring and record keeping. We also enforce strict cash payment limits and a no third party payment policy. Christie’s AML Programme is subject to regular audit to ensure the proper functioning of all procedures. This is done to protect our clients and Christie’s interests.