FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We have attempted to make the content of the website as exhaustive as possible in order to cover as many eventualities or queries as possible. There are a number of questions which tend to recur during every auction and we have attempted to summarise these below:
Q. What is a Buy Bid?
A. This tends to be the most common query we receive as this method of bidding is often misunderstood. It does not mean that a lot can be purchased prior to the auction at its' estimated price. This confusion often arises because some companies operate a "Buy or Bid" sale model. Rather, a Buy Bid is an open ended commitment to purchase an item at one step over the second highest bid received - however expensive this may prove. For that reason it is a potentially dangerous method of bidding. If two bidders find a lot of particular interest the Buy Bidder may end up paying far more than they anticipated. For example, if a lot is estimated at £20.00 and a bid is received of £150.00 as well as a Buy Bid, the client who entered the Buy Bid will be liable to pay £155.00 (one bidding step over the second highest bid received). This scenario is not unknown - particularly if we have underestimated a particular lot.
We do accept Buy Bids but we do not recommend them as we believe they are fraught with potential misunderstandings. We far prefer that bidders express an exact figure in relation to each lot of interest.
Q. What if two or more Buy Bids are received in relation to the same lot?
A. We contact each Buy Bidder and request a specific maximum bid to break the deadlock. If the highest maximum figure then submitted is less than a normal numerical bid submitted in the ordinary way, the numerical bidder shall prevail.
Q. By what methods can I submit bids?
A. We accept bids by post, telephone, fax, e-mail and via our website. Telephone bids from new clients must be confirmed in writing. A full resume of how to participate in our auctions can be found by clicking on the "Bidding" heading at the top of the website home page.
Q. Am I liable to pay a Buyer's Premium in addition to the hammer price?
A. We levy absolutely no Buyer's Premium or extra charges whatsoever. We are totally opposed to the basic concept of a Buyer's Premium. We believe all charges should be absolutely transparent and for that reason we believe the hammer price is the actual amount you should pay.
Q. As Principality Auctions is a postal auction, how do I view lots of interest?
A. For those who wish to examine material personally we are very happy to facilitate viewing at our office. We simply request that you telephone in advance to make an appointment. Postal viewing facilities are also available for inland customers. Postage and insurance (both ways) are the responsibilty of the viewer. New customers wishing to avail themselves of this service are kindly asked to provide two or more trade or banking references.
Q. I am interested in a particular lot but a scanned image does not appear on your website. Is it still possible to obtain a scan?
A. Obviously it is impossible to scan an image of every auction lot to the website. Items can be outsized or unwieldy and long runs of material are incredibly labour intensive (for this reason we do not scan images of unmounted mint modern material as it is basic self-explanatory). We try to concentrate on the scarcer items in the sale, earlier material, postal history, varieties and used items which we feel are the prime beneficiaries of scanning and tend to be the most requested items when images are sought. However, as long as an item can physically be scanned we will guarantee to provide any image that is requested. Just because an item is not scanned in to the website it does not mean it is sub-standard but rather denotes that we think a written description will usually suffice. For large items which cannot be scanned, we are very happy to provide further detailed information by e-mail or telephone.
Q. A number of abbrievations appear in your lot descriptions. Can you explain them?
A. We generally try to abbrieviate as little as possible. Those abbrieviations that do appear tend to relate to published catalogues. The main references are as follows:
SG - Refers to the Stanley Gibbons series of catalogues and catalogue numbers.
Scott - Refers to the American series of catalogues
H&G - Refers to the Higgins & Gage series of world postal stationery catalogues.
Barefoot - Refers to the J Barefoot Ltd British Commonwealth Revenues catalogue.
ACSC - Refers to the Brusden White produced Australian Commonwealth Specialists Catalogue.
Murray Payne - Refers to The 20th Edition of The Commonwealth King George VI Catalogue.
Heijtz - Refers to the Specialised Stamp Catalogue of Falkland Islands & Dependencies.
Yang - Refers to the Postage Stamp & Postal History Catalogue of Hong Kong.
Hagger - Refers to the South African Specialized Catalogue.
Unitrade - Refers to the Specialized Catalogue of Canadian Stamps.
Horry - The Encyclopaedia of British West Indies Postamarks King George VI
Yendall - The seminal work on King George VI British Commonwealth large keyplate issues
Glazer - The seminal work on King George V British Commonwealth large keyplate issues
Stanton & Thorpe - The Ssecialized work on the St Helena 1922-37 Badge issue
Robson Lowe - Refers to the various volumes of Robson Lowe's Encyclopaedia of British Commonwealth stamps.
We often make reference to other specialist reference works within our item descriptions. If you wish to query any such reference or other abbrieviation, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Q. Do you accept bids below your stated estimates?
A. Our estimates are designed as a guide to what we reasonably expect each lot to reasonably fetch under current market conditions. However, we accept that opinions of value are subjective and therefore we do consider bids below estimate. It should be noted that bids under 80% of estimate stand virtually no chance of success. It should be stated that this does not mean that every lot is automatically reserved at 80% of estimate. Reserves will vary in accordance with the wishes of individual vendors.
Q. Prior to bidding for a lot I would like to obtain an extension to obtain authentication from an expertising body. Is this acceptable?
A. We are happy to agree extensions prior to the close of the auction in order that we may obtain prior consent from our vendor to the process. Such requests must be made in writing. Items subject to extensions must be paid for in the normal way. If authentication is not forthcoming the purchase price will be immediately repayable upon return of the item in question. In such instances the vendor will be liable to indemnify the purchaser in relation to the costs of the expertisation procedure. If the item is successfully verified, the purchaser shall be liable for the expertisation charges. If an item is submitted to an expertising body without prior consent being obtained and the item fails to gain authentication, the purchase price will again be immediately repayable but the costs of the unsuccessful expertisation process must be borne by the purchaser, the vendor having been denied the opportunity of consenting to the process. No items estimated at under £100.00 will be granted extensions.
Q. How soon following the sale will I discover whether I have been successful with my bids?
A. Our sales are numerically large but we aim to dispatch purchases and pro-forma invoices within seven days of the close of sale. We are happy to assist prospective purchasers with their results following the sale but we would be most grateful if enquiries could be delayed for a minimum of 36 hours following the close of the auction in order that lots may be allocated as swiftly as possible.
Q. I have received or been invoiced for an item that since bidding I have acquired elsewhere. Can I return the lot in these circumstances?
A. Lots can only be accepted for return on the basis that they do not conform to their catalogue description. To accept the return of lots because a purchaser has bought a similar item elsewhere acts to denude the vendor of a valid sale and denies another prospective purchaser the opportunity to acquire the item. The answer in this case is to ensure that a bid for such an item is cancelled prior to the close of sale.
Q. Is it possible to purchase unsold items following the sale?
A. We publish a list of all unsold lots following the sale and this is sent to all those who bid in the auction. The lots are all available subject unsold at their stated reserves. We also leave unsold items available for viewing on our website and a list of reserve prices can be obtained directly from us.
Q. Do you publish a list of prices realised?
A. With limited administrative time available, we face a choice between producing an unsold lot list or a list of prices realised. Experience has shown that there tends to be far greater interest in purchasing unsold lots. We do appreciate the interest concerning auction realisations and we do endeavour to help with individual items. However, we regret we are not able to furnish realisations for large numbers of lots.
Q. I have been successful with my bids but I don't want to pay what I consider are exhorbitant postage charges? Will you send lots by a cheaper method of my choosing?
A. We fully appreciate the reluctance to pay increasingly high postal charges, especially for services such as Special Delivery & International Signed For. However, in the absence of instructions to the contrary we are obliged to send lots by a method which fully insures their value (this may entail splitting consignments into two or more packets when mailing outside the United Kingdom due to the low levels of compensation available when sending to certain countries). If a purchaser wishes to use an uninsured or under-insured method of sending we do require prior written instructions to that effect. In the event that material is lost or damaged in transit when sent by an uninsured or under-insured method, by necessity the loss or shortfall must be borne solely by the purchaser. If payment is made via Paypal we will only accept posting instructions that specify a method requiring a tracking number to be obtained unless purchases amount to less than £20.
Q. I have received an invoice from Principality Auctions which charges VAT on postage & packing. Surely postage is VAT exempt?
A. This is a query we have obtained specific advice on from the VAT authorities. To buy or sell postage per se is VAT exempt. However, when postage is provided as part of a service, in this instance postage & packing to send goods, it is liable to VAT at the standard rate. We choose to express this as a separate item on our invoices in order that our charges are totally transparent and also in order that VAT registered clients can easily reclaim VAT. All dealers are liable to charge VAT on postage & packing but many choose to invoice it on an inclusive basis which may be why confusion arises in this regard.
Q. Does Principality Auctions operate in any other way aside from selling material via auction. Would it be possible to service my Wants List?
A. We only sell material by means of our own auction or through the medium of Ebay. Regrettably our stock is not organised in such a way that it is possible to service Wants Lists. We also believe that by offering all our material via auction it provides a level playing field for all clients to compete for items of interest. Potentially Wants Lists can cause awkward dilemmas. If two or more clients have the same item on their respective lists, who should we afford first refusal to? By entering all material for auction, we try to provide the best possible opportunity for all customers to compete equally. We do offer considerable amounts of material, including much original postal history, via the platform of Ebay. If clients would like to be informed by e-mail of when such material is due to appear, we will will ensure notification is given via our e-mail database.
Q. Is there a charge for subscribing to Principality Auctions' catalogues?
A. For new recipients of our traditional printed catalogue, there is no subscription charge for the first year in order that clients may develop a proper feel for our sales over a period of time, rather than having to form a judgement of whether to pay to a subscription on the basis of maybe a single sale. After the first year has elapsed, there is a nominal charge of £10.00 (inland) & £15.00 (overseas) per annum. For those who opt to subscribe solely to our e-mail database in order that they may receive notification of when sales are available to view on-line, there is naturally no charge for this service.
Q. I have limited interests which don't justify my paying a catalogue subscription. Do you operate a register for those with specialised collecting fields?
A. We do operate a specialist register. We will send traditional printed catalogues or e-mail notifications whenever items of interest in your particular collecting field appear.
Q. Is Principality Auctions willing to offer material for sale on behalf of vendors?
A. We are always keen to offer quality material on behalf of our clients. A full resume of our requirements and Terms & Conditions of Sale can be accessed via the "Selling" heading at the top of the website home page.