Buying an artwork at auction: how does it work?

There are a few things you need to know in order to get a genuine and valuable item at an auction. In general, art auctions are held in a room or on the Internet. If necessary, participation by telephone is also possible. How does the auction work?

Do you want to buy a work of art at auction?

Before the day of the auction, you must register with the organisers. At the beginning of the auction, the auctioneer sets a base amount on which the bidding will start. The auction ends if no buyer wants to raise the price. The highest bidder wins the lot after the famous "sold" voice and the hammer blow. No further bids are accepted after this stage. The organisers set a minimum price scale. If the bids do not reach this threshold, the sale is cancelled.

How do I buy a work of art at auction?

When buying a work of art, the name of the artist remains important, as it enhances the value of the object on display. If you want to buy a work of art at auction, please note that the auctioneer will be the seller's agent. Disclosure of the identity of the artist or the owner of the work is prohibited without prior permission. In certain cases, such as the sale of a company after a court decision, the law requires the disclosure of the owner's name. The name of the artist, author of the work, remains important to verify the authenticity of the article offered for sale. The information concerning each work of art should be mentioned to guarantee the originality of the object. Before embarking on the auction, checking this information becomes the ultimate. You can cancel the purchase if you notice that the work for sale is a fake.

What else should I know?

After the "hammer has been dropped", it is impossible to renegotiate the price. The right of withdrawal does not apply to auctions. To buy a work of art at auction, you can use the Internet. Most organisers have at least one auction website. It is possible to delegate tasks to the auctioneer or his assistants by "firm order". In this case, you set a price margin to enter the competition. Consultation of the general conditions of sale remains essential to avoid surprises. Generally, auction prices do not take into account taxes and organisers' fees. The amount of these charges varies according to the "hammer price" and the type of items offered for sale.
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