Buying with Christie
Buying guide

Register and bid

An item has caught your attention and you’re thinking of placing a bid. What’s next?

If you’ve created an account and verified your identity, you can register to bid in any auction. Christie’s hosts both live auctions, which take place on a specific date and time in one of our salerooms around the world, and online auctions, which are open for bidding for a fixed period over several days.

Register and bid in a live auction

For live auctions, you can register in two ways depending on how you want to bid. For in-person and telephone bidding, register via Client Services. For absentee and Christie’s LIVE™ bidding, sign in to your account and register on the auction page.

We recommend registering at least 24 hours before the start of any live auction. If the registration deadline has passed and you would like to bid, please contact Client Services for assistance.

There are four ways you can bid in a live auction:

  • In person: Bidding in person offers a thrill like no other. Register in advance by contacting Client Services. Bring your photo ID and a proof of address to collect a paddle before the auction begins. When your desired lot is announced, it’s time to start bidding. Bidding generally opens below the low estimate and advances in increments of up to 10%, subject to the auctioneer’s discretion. Raise your paddle to signal to the auctioneer whenever you want to place a bid.
  • Christie’s LIVE™: Our online bidding platform for live auctions allows you to watch and place bids in real time from your desktop or mobile, wherever you are in the world. Sign in to your account and register on the auction page, then click ‘Join auction’ when the session begins to enter the online saleroom and bid.
  • Telephone bidding: If you prefer to bid by telephone, we can call you directly from the saleroom and bid on your behalf with the auctioneer. In case we can’t reach you while the auction is happening, we recommend leaving an ‘emergency absentee bid’ too. To register for a telephone bid, please contact Client Services.
  • Absentee bidding: If you’re unable to attend an auction, place an absentee bid beforehand and the auctioneer will bid on the lot for you. If your bid is more than the reserve, the auctioneer will try to win the lot for you at the lowest price they can. An absentee bid takes priority over the same bid amount in the room or on the telephones. To place an absentee bid, sign in to your account, find the lot you want to bid on, click ‘Place bid’ and enter your maximum bid amount.

Financial references

For some auctions, you may also be asked for a financial reference and/or a deposit as a condition of allowing you to bid.

Register and bid in an online auction

For online auctions, sign in to your account, go to the auction page and click ‘Register’. You’ll be asked to confirm some account details, such as your preferred shipping address. You can register before the auction, or any time during.

To bid, find the lot you’re interested in and click ‘Place bid’. You can place a quick or a max bid:

  • A quick bid allows you to place the next sequential bid on a lot in real time. Christie’s uses predetermined bidding increments, which you can find in the Conditions of Sale on the auction page.
  • A max bid sets the highest bid you are willing to place on a lot and continues to bid on your behalf until that bid is exceeded. If two or more bidders leave identical bids, the first bid received takes precedence. You can change your maximum bid amount if the current bid is lower than your maximum bid.

Use the ‘Cost calculator’ on the lot page for an estimate of Buyer’s Premium and shipping before you bid. Please note, you cannot cancel a bid once it’s been submitted.

The countdown timer on each lot indicates how much time is left before the lot closes for bidding. If a bid is placed within three minutes of the closing time of a lot, the lot will remain open for three additional minutes, until no further bids have been placed and a highest bidder has been determined.

Before participating in an online auction, make sure that the device you’re bidding from is set to automatically update its clock, for the best bidding experience.

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