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 per cent of the hammer price of each lot up to and including £450,000/US$600,000; plus 20 per cent of the hammer price from £450,001/US$600,001 up to and including £4,500,000/US$6,000,000 and 14.5 per cent from £4,500,001/US$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 wine, 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
Bidding generally opens below the low estimate and advances in increments of up to 10%, subject to the auctioneer’s discretion.
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.
April 1, 2019
These are the terms and conditions on which Christie’s will accept liability for physical loss of, or damage to the Property as referred to in, and incorporated into the agreements between You and Christie’s in respect of the sale or other handling of Property in Christie’s care custody and control (together and/or separately the “Agreements”). Unless stated otherwise, capitalised words and expressions used in these terms and conditions have the meanings given to them in the Agreements.
In these terms and conditions:
1.1 "Christie's" means Christie's International Plc., its subsidiaries and other companies within the corporate group
1.2 "Seller" means the owner of the Property or if not the owner, the Owner’s Agent
1.3 "Owner’s Agent" (if applicable) means the person acting as agent on behalf of the owner of the Property (excluding Christie’s)
1.4 "Agreement" means the agreement between You and Christie's in respect of the sale or other handling of Property in Christie’s care custody and control
1.5 "You" and/or "Seller" have the meanings given to them in the Agreement
1.6 "Property" means an item of property to be offered for sale (or two or more items of property to be offered for sale as a group) as listed or referenced in the Agreement,
2. General exclusions from liability
Christie's shall not be under any liability for loss, damage or expense attributable to or caused by:
• 2.1 the wilful misconduct of You, the Seller and/or the Owner’s Agent
• 2.2 insufficiency or unsuitability of packing or preparation of the Property unless the packers or shippers are acting under Christie’s instructions
• 2.3 moth, vermin, woodworm, wear, tear, gradual deterioration and/or inherent vice
• 2.4 changes in atmospheric conditions. We will not be liable for any physical loss or damage to any lot caused by climatic or atmospheric conditions beyond our control as long as we take reasonable care and skill in handling the Property to reduce the risk of physical loss or damage.
• 2.5 We will not be liable for any physical loss or damage to picture frames or to glass forming part of picture frames caused by circumstances beyond our control as long as we take reasonable care and skill in handling the Property to reduce the risk of physical loss or damage.
3. War exclusion
• 3.1 war, civil war, revolution, rebellion, insurrection, or civil strife arising therefrom, or any act by or against a belligerent power
• 3.2 capture, seizure, arrest, restraint or detainment (piracy excluded), and the consequences thereof or any attempt thereat
• 3.3 derelict mines, torpedoes, bombs or other derelict weapons of war; or
• 3.4 confiscation, expropriation, detention, destruction, nationalisation, requisition or enforcement by order of any Government, Public, Municipal, Local or Customs Authority
4. Terrorism exclusion
Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary within these terms and conditions or any addition to them, Christie's shall be under no liability for any loss, damage or expense of whatsoever nature directly or indirectly caused by, resulting from or in connection with any act of terrorism, regardless of any other cause or event contributing concurrently or in any other sequence to the loss, or any action taken in controlling, preventing, suppressing or in any way relating to any act of terrorism.
In these terms and conditions, an "act of terrorism" means an act, including but not limited to the use of force or violence and/or the threat thereof of any person or group of person(s), whether acting alone or on behalf of or in connection with any organisation(s) or government(s), committed for political, religious, ideological or similar purposes including the intention to influence any government or to put the public, or any section of the public, in fear.
5. Environmental exclusion
Christie's shall be under no liability for any loss, damage or expense directly or indirectly caused by or contributed to by or arising from:
• 5.1 ionising radiations from or contamination by radioactivity from any nuclear fuel or any nuclear waste or from the combustion of nuclear fuel
• 5.2 the radioactive, toxic, explosive or other hazardous or contaminating properties of any nuclear installation, reactor or any other nuclear assembly or nuclear component thereof
• 5.3 any weapon or device supplying atomic or nuclear fission and/or fusion or other like reaction or radioactive force or matter
• 5.4 the radioactive, toxic, explosive or other hazardous or contaminating properties of any radioactive matter. The exclusion in this sub-clause does not extend to radioactive isotopes, other than nuclear fuel, when such isotopes are being prepared, carried, store or used for commercial, agricultural, medical, scientific or other similar peaceful purposes; or
• 5.5 any chemical, biological, bio-chemical or electromagnetic weapon
6. Pairs and sets
If physical loss of, or damage to, the Property is recoverable under these terms and conditions, and the Property is a pair or set, Christie's will pay any consequent depreciation in value on the remainder of the pair or set.
7. Partial damage
In cases where the Property is partially damaged Christie's liability will be limited to reasonable restoration costs and the diminution in the value of the Property (taken in its condition as restored), if any, caused by such damage.
Christie's shall be under no liability for any loss of, or damage to, the Property caused by work done by a restorer in the course of their alteration or any refinishing, renovating, repairing, restoring, or similar process.
9. Exhibition and related risks
It is agreed that these terms and conditions include all transits and exhibitions, sales, displays or viewings where Christie's send Property between its main offices or elsewhere.
10. Notification of loss
On the discovery of any event which may give rise to a claim, You must notify Christie's without delay and provide a written notice within thirty days of the discovery of the event giving rise to the claim.
11. Modification or cancellation
If Christie's modifies or cancels any aspect of these terms and conditions, we will give You at least 45 days' notice stating the reasons for the modification or cancellation.
12. Assignment of title
Where a claim is made for the complete physical loss of the Property and Christie's pays sums to you in respect of that loss, if the Property is subsequently recovered, you agree that Christie's shall take full legal title to the Property unless and until such time as you return those sums to Christie's. Where a claim is made for physical damage to the Property and Christie's pays sums to you on the basis that the Property was totally damaged, you likewise agree that Christie's shall take full legal title to the Property.
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.