Do We Sell On Behalf Of Vendors?
We are very happy to accept auction material from vendors. As a postal rather than a a public auction we obviously seek material that is best suited to our medium of trading. Our sales are constructed on the basis of offering high quality singles and sets rather than complete collections or bulk lots. We believe the latter are better suited to public auctions where they can be exhaustively viewed. We may be able to purchase such lots outright as we have alternative avenues for disposal of such material or we can advise where they can be best offered to obtain the maximum return.
Consigning Material For Auction
We request that prior to consigning material for sale, potential vendors contact us first in order to ascertain whether it will be suitable for inclusion in our auction. It is our desire to obtain the best possible return for our vendors and if we believe that we do not represent the best option for selling your material, we would rather inform you prior to dispatch thus saving you time and potential disappointment. We are always happy to recommend alternative outlets if we feel we are unable to do full justice to your material.
It is appreciated if vendors include a full list of material consigned for auction for ease of reference. Catalogue numbers appended to each lot are extremely useful when it comes to describing auction lots. We always exhaustively check each lot entered for sale as we pride ourselves on the accuracy of our descriptions but a catalogue reference as a starting point, particularly in relation to more eclectic material, greatly assists in making this process as efficient as possible.
We do request that no material is consigned to us on an unsolicited basis. Unsolicited consignments which are unsuitable for auction will be returned promptly subject to the consignor paying return postal charges in advance.
Minimum Consignment Value - Due to the administration involved we ask that each auction consignment bears a minimum estimated value (as opposed to catalogue value) at auction of £500.00.
Minimum Lot Value - Due to the basic cost of including individual lots in our catalogue we ask that each item has a minimum estimated value (as opposed to catalogue value) at auction of £15.00.
Condition Of Lots - We are proud of our reputation for offering material in very fine condition and it is only this quality of material that we seek to include in our auctions. Genuinely rare stamps or postal history items in secondary condition will generally also be acceptable.
Estimating Policy - Each lot is treated on its' individual merits. As a general starting point we estimate unmounted mint (MNH) material at 50% of catalogue value, lightly mounted mint material at 40% of catalogue value, mounted mint material at 33% of catalogue value and very fine cds used material at 50% of catalogue value. Other forms of used material are valued strictly in relation to their quality. We readily acknowledge that some items are over-catalogued or as is the case in the current buoyant market, much material remains under-catalogued. Where we believe this to be the case it will be reflected in our estimating policy.
Reserves - Our standard fixed reserve is 80% of the estimated price. If material is reserved at above our estimated price and fails to sell it will attract commission at our standard rate.
It is our firm belief that commission charges should be completely transparent, easily understood and fair to both parties. For that reason we charge a standard 20% commission plus VAT at the current rate. This figure is negotiable in relation to valuable properties. We believe that the figure of 20% fairly reflects the time and effort we employ in attempting to gain the maximum return for our vendors. Very importantly, we make no charges of the following nature:
* We operate no Buyer's Premium which inevitably substanially depresses auction realisations
* We charge no lotting fees
* We levy no handling charges
* We make no charge in relation to unsold lots
* We do not charge for photographed items
* We make no charge for insurance despite providing full insurance cover
We only make extra charges in the following circumstances:
* In the case of unsold lots or unsuitable lots return postage is to be borne by the vendor
* Withdrawn lots are charged commission at our standard rate
* Lots reserved above our estimates and which fail to sell are charged commission at our standard rate
Isn't 20% A High Commission Figure?
You will undoubtedly find auctions that quote a basic commission figure of less than 20%. These tend to be auctions who charge a punitive Buyer's Premium (or Penalty as we feel it should be more accurately referred to). If an auction house is promising 10% commission allied to a 15% Buyer's Premium plus a whole raft of "incidental" charges, it places our standard charge of 20% in it's correct context. The existence of a Buyer's Premium's unarguably depresses auction realisations as bidders immediately factor such a charge into their level of bidding. When commission, Buyer's Premium and other charges are calculated, it is readily apparent that some auction houses who quote a figure of 10% commission are in practice charging in excess of 30%. One major auction house currently charges a Buyer's Premium alone of 20% plus VAT (i.e. 24% in addition to the hammer price) and this is before commission is even taken into account.
It will be apparent that hidden charges are something we feel very strongly about. We have pledged never to introduce a Buyer's Premium and we take pride in the transparency and honesty integral to our commission structure.
Much as we would like to guarantee potential vendors 100% sales, reality denotes that some items will always fail to attract bids. Following each auction we publish a printed list of Unsold Lots which are available at their stated reserves. These lots are also be available for purchase via our website where the estimated value is reduced to the reserve price for at least six weeks following each sale. For lots that still remain unsold we are happy to re-enter them in a subsequent sale. If items remain unsold after being offered twice we then return them to their vendors as we feel they will be better deployed to a fresh audience. The only charge we make is to request the cost of return postage.
We are perfectly happy to facilitate requests for extensions whilst material is submitted to approved Expertising Bodies for authentication. In the case of lots sold on behalf of our vendors we will seek consent prior to the conclusion of the sale that the vendor is willing to grant such a request. If a request is approved and the item is authenticated successfully, the purchaser shall bear all related costs. If the item is not successfully verified, the vendor shall be liable to repay the costs incurred in the course of the expertisation process to the purchaser. Final settlement relating to lots subject to extensions will be made only when a satisfactory Expertising Certificate has been granted.
Payment is made to our vendors by cheque 49 days (seven weeks) from the date of sale. If lots have been sold on a pro-forma basis and payment from the purchaser has still not been received after seven weeks, settlement will follow immediately upon receipt of payment. We are happy to arrange advanced payment where possible but this is subject to a 2½% surcharge.