Buyer’s Guide

We want you to enjoy the thrill of buying at auction, whether you are a novice buyer or an auction pro. 

All first time bidders will need to register with us. For this, you will need to provide us with at least two forms of identification, such as a passport or photographic driving licence, or a utility bill or document showing proof of name and address, see Anti-Money Laundering Policy for further information.

Once registration is complete you will be able to bid with us in all future auctions. 

We hold a number of different sorts of auctions including live, sealed bid and online auctions. 

Click here for a guide to the different forms of bidding, however we are always happy to explain how the system works or answer any questions on the phone or by email.

Tel. +44 (0)1403 331 331 or

Buyer’s Premium Rates

The buyer’s premium payable by the buyer of each lot is at a rate of 25% on the first £250,000 and 20% on the amount by which the hammer price exceeds £250,000, plus an amount in respect of VAT thereon (see below).

VAT & Taxes

VAT on Hammer Price and Buyer’s Premium and VAT Symbols in the Catalogue.

Property with no VAT symbol 

Where there is no VAT symbol, Summers Place Auctions Ltd are able to use the Auctioneer’s Margin Scheme and VAT will not normally be charged on the hammer price.

Summers Place Auctions Ltd must bear VAT on the buyer’s premium and hence will charge an amount in lieu of VAT at 20% on this premium, which will not be shown separately on the invoice.

Property with a † symbol

These items will be sold under the normal UK VAT rules and VAT will be charged at 20% on both the hammer price and Buyer’s Premium.

Property with a @ symbol

It is assumed that items sold to buyers whose address is in the European Union (EU) will be remaining in the EU. The property will be invoiced as if it had no VAT symbol. It is assumed that items sold to buyers whose address is outside the EU, will be exported from the EU. The property will be invoiced under the normal VAT rules (see ‘Property with a † symbol above).

Property sold with a ‡ or Ω symbol

These items have been imported from outside the EU to be sold at auction under temporary importation. When Summers Place Auctions Ltd release such property to buyers in the UK, the buyer will become the importer and must pay Summers Place Auctions Ltd import VAT at the following rates on the hammer price:
‡ @ 5%
Ω @ 20%

VAT Refunds

VAT may be cancelled or refunded on export if strict conditions are met. For advice, please contact +44 (0) 1403 331331. Refunds are subject to an administration charge.

Sales and Uses Taxes

Buyers from outside the UK should note that local sales taxes or use taxes may become payable upon import of items following purchase (for example, the Use Tax payable on import of purchased items to certain states of the USA). Buyers should obtain their own advice in this regard. 


All the relevant lots in the sales have been carefully vetted, mindful of current C.I.T.E.S. regulations, concerning the sale of endangered species. We are happy to provide advice on any lots, to overseas buyers concerning export restrictions; however, it is ultimately the buyers responsibility to satisfy themselves that the correct licences can be obtained from the relevant destination country’s authorities prior to bidding in the auction.

Artist’s Resale Right

Purchase of lots marked with the following symbol ▲ will be subject to payment of the Artist’s Resale Right, at a percentage of the hammer price calculated as follows: Portion of the hammer price (in €) Royalty Rate.

From 0 to 50,000 4%
From 50,000.01 to 200,000 3%
From 200,000.01 to 350,000 1%
From 350,000.01 to 500,000 0.5%
Exceeding 500,000 0.25%

The Artist’s Resale Right payable will be the aggregate of the amounts payable under the above rate bands, subject to a maximum royalty payable of €12,500 for any single work each time it is sold. The maximum royalty payable of €12,500 applies to works sold for € million and above. Calculation of the artist’s resale right will be based on the Pounds Sterling / Euro reference exchange rate quoted on the date of the sale by the European Central Bank.

Before The Auction

Pre-sale Estimates

Pre-sale estimates are intended as a guide for prospective buyers but all lots can realise prices above or below the pre-sale estimates. Seller’s confidential reserves are set no higher than the low pre-sale estimates, except in the rare circumstance in which the reserve has been set in a foreign currency and the exchange rate has fluctuated.

It is advisable to consult us nearer the time of sale as estimates can be subject to revision. The estimates printed in the auction catalogue do not include the buyer’s premium or VAT.


In certain circumstances, Summers Place Auctions Ltd may print in the catalogue the history of ownership of a work of art if such information contributes to scholarship or is otherwise well known and assists in distinguishing the work of art. However, the identity of the seller or previous owners may not be disclosed for a variety of reasons. For example, such information may be excluded to accommodate a seller’s request for confidentiality or because the identity of prior owners is unknown given the age of the work of art.

Condition of Lots

All lots are available for inspection and Condition Reports are available on request. However, all lots are of an age and type which means that they may not be in perfect condition and should be viewed by prospective bidders; please refer to Condition 3 of the Conditions of Business for Buyers.

Summers Place Auctions Ltd is happy to provide an informal opinion as to the general condition of a lot, as a courtesy to our clients.  However, we must advise you that we are not professional restorers or conservators and we do not provide any guarantee or warranty as to a lot’s condition.

All lots are offered for sale “as viewed” and subject to the applicable Conditions of Business for Buyer’s condition, which are set out in the sale catalogue and are available on request. Accordingly it is recommended that prospective buyers inspect lots or have their advisors do so, and satisfy themselves as to condition and accuracy of description.

Electrical and Mechanical Goods

All electrical and mechanical goods are sold on the basis of their artistic and decorative value only, and should not be assumed to be operative. It is essential that any electrical system is checked and approved by a suitably qualified electrician, prior to use.

Bidding with and other online platforms including Summers Place Live

If you cannot attend the auction, you might also choose to bid using an online bidding platform.   These may vary with each auction.  We use a number of different selling platforms including live auctions, sealed bid auctions and online only auctions. Details including the commissions charged by each platform can be seen next to the catalogue listing on our home page. Summers Place Live is our new auction house platform with no surcharge (standard BP and VAT apply), register an account with us to use this facility.


Successful purchasers need to have achieved advanced certification to comply with current anti money laundering regulations (AML).

Payment is due in sterling immediately after the sale and before purchases can be released. Payments in person can be made in the office on the day of the auction using mobile banking. Payments may only be made by electronic transfer (BACS) to our bank. Cash will not be accepted.

Summers Place Auctions Ltd welcome the following methods of payment: 

Bank Transfer

Payment by Bank Transfers (BACS) made directly to our Bank. Please contact us by telephone or e-mail for further details.

Debit Cards

We regret we are no longer able to accept debit or credit cards.

How sealed bids works

First you require a catalogue.  Once you have the catalogue, you need to register your interest in bidding.  This can be done quickly and simply by presenting one of our viewing staff with some photographic ID (a modern driver’s license or passport is ideal) or by scanning a copy and emailing it to us.  We will take a copy and a registration form can then be completed.

Next give us your bid(s).  This can be done by filling in the bidding slip found in your catalogue.  If you are sending your bidding slip to Summers Place Auctions by post, please mark the envelope “Sealed Bid” so that we know it contains a sealed bid and do not open it accidentally.  Bids may also be sent by e-mail.  If you choose to send the bid electronically, please e-mail  This is a closed mailbox and will not be opened before the advertised time.  However, we strongly recommend that if you have not viewed the sale in person, that you ask for condition reports on any lots you are thinking of leaving bids on.

Sealed bid auctions differ from established auctions in that the bid left is the bid that will be exercised in full.  Therefore if you decide to leave a bid of say £900 on the lot estimated at £800 – £1000 and there is no higher bid, (where two identical bids are received, the earliest received bid will take precedence), £900 will secure the lot subject to buyer’s premium and VAT on the premium. 

We will contact you if you have been the successful bidder to inform you of the lot or lots that you have purchased, so that you can make payment and make arrangements for delivery.  We have had many years of experience dealing with both UK carriers and international shippers and are happy to obtain quotations and facilitate transport and shipping of single lots and multiple purchases to  anywhere in the world.

Bids will be opened on the Thursday following the auction and sales results will appear on the Summers Place Auctions website.  Please be mindful that we will have to process a large number of bids, which does take time.  However, we will endeavour to get this accomplished as quickly as possible and expect to have the results of the sale posted by the end of the day.

If you have never bid in a sealed bid sale with us before, here are some things to be aware of as regards leaving bids for this auction:

Every lot in the sale has a fixed reserve, (the minimum price for which the lot can be sold) and this is never above the low estimate, it can be slightly below but in the vast majority of cases it is the low estimate. 

The highest bid (as long as it is on or above the reserve) will be winning bid.  This is the “hammer price” that the lot will be sold for.

You should consider leaving a bid of an odd amount in pounds, for example, rather than bidding £1,000, try say £1,004, as many lots have been bought for the sake of the odd £1! 

You can tailor your bid in ways that are impossible to do in a live auction.  For example if you really like three lots, but only need one, and the piece you like the most is later in the sale, simply mark your order of preference.  As long as your instructions are clear, having looked at any other bids left on the lots, we will do our best to comply with your preferences. 

In the event of two identical highest bids, the earliest bid received will take precedence.

An auction price is made up of different components:

The winning bid is called the “hammer” price;

A commission, which is in addition to the “hammer price”, is payable to the auctioneers.  This is known as the buyer’s premium, on which VAT is also payable.  

Lots marked with ▲are subject to Artists Resale Right (ARR), which is 4% of the “hammer price”.  All lots that have additional VAT are clearly marked in the catalogue with a †.