Buying and selling at auction is not as difficult as you might expect. Attending an auction can be a very exciting, exhilarating and entertaining experience, especially if you have never been before. This is still the traditional way to buy at auction, and is a good way of seeing other bidders in the room by comparing the competition against you, but if you wish to be completely anonymous or are unable to physically get to the auction house, you can also bid online, leave a commission bid, or even arrange for one of us to call you prior to the lot being offered and bid at the telephone, as if you were actually in the room. Whichever method you choose, you must have looked at that item carefully before the item is sold, and assessed its condition yourself. The item will be sold as per the description in the catalogue, but you will be responsible for viewing the item prior to bidding on it, or arrange for someone independent to view it for you, as you will not be able to return the item if you do not like it once you have placed your bid. When bidding, it is essential that you make the Auctioneer fully aware that you are actually bidding; waving your hand will usually suffice, but calling out may be necessary. Bidding online requires you to press the bidding button quickly and to ensure you are connected to the internet. Once the Auctioneer has your full attention, you may then only need to nod or shake your head to alert him of your intentions, but whichever method you use is entirely up to you, because it will be your responsibility to ensure your bid is not missed. Provided you have registered your details by completing a registration bidding form and been given a bidding number, you will be able to bid, and at the “fall of the hammer”, which is when the Auctioneer brings an end to bidding, and you are the final bidder, he will ask you for your bidding number to confirm the sale. If you wish to bid by telephone, you must “book a telephone bid” by 4.30pm the day before the sale, for the particular lot you are interested in. A member of Whittons team will call you before the item you want and will take your instruction at the telephone, and act on your behalf as if you were bidding yourself. We will not accept telephone bids for items with a catalogue estimate of less than £250.00 however, so you will need to bid another way if you wish to do this, such as leaving a commission bid, where you advise us the maximum amount you are prepared to pay, and the Auctioneer will endeavour to bid on your behalf up to that amount. Bidding online via is fast becoming the easiest and most efficient way of bidding in person, and there is no requirement for you to be in front of the auctioneer to do this, freeing you up from wherever you are as the auction is taking place live on the day, provided you have registered there too. In this day and age, such transparent competitive bidding at auction can be watched and heard from all over the world. There will be an extra 5% (+VAT) of the hammer price made for using this service which is charged by All successful bidders, however you choose to bid, will be bound to pay and arrange for collection of the item(s) purchased as the contract will be made once the hammer goes down. The auctioneer will always have the final say, and can also decline your bid if he or she so wishes. In the event of two bidders placing the same bid, (either by way of commission or online), he or she can use discretion as to which he accepts.


If you wish to sell something at auction, you will firstly need to bring the item into the saleroom or give us a call to arrange an appointment for us to come and see it. We will then give you our expert opinion as to the value of that item, and advise you as to the price you might expect that item to achieve at auction. If you agree with our opinion, we will ask you to sign an “entry form” which we will complete with a brief description of the item, the minimum price that you wish to sell that item for, and the commission charges you should expect to pay on it. If you need us to arrange transportation of the item to the saleroom, we can also organise this for you, at your expense. The item will then be entered in to a sale, photographed, and advertised on our website, and if the Auctioneer considers that any special advertising applies to your item, he will discuss this with you, and advertise more extensively if appropriate. You will be advised when your item will be sold so that you can attend the auction if you wish to see it sold, but it is forbidden for you to bid on your own items with the intention of making someone pay more for them, and the Auctioneer will not sell that lot. If you have attended the sale, you will know if your lot has sold or not, but if not, the results of all our sales will be posted on our website the following day. You may call the saleroom after 4pm on the day of the sale if you prefer, or we will let you know by email the next day. We will then aim to send all our vendors a cheque within 28 days of the sale date for the net amount achieved, provided that the purchaser has paid us in full by then. Please refer to our conditions of sale for further information.