+44 (0)1428 653727 sales@johnnicholsons.com

Buying at auction

Buying at auction is a simple yet exciting experience. We offer the following ways to buy with us:

Buying online

Please register for all sales up to one hour before it begins.

For all sales, you can bid live online via John Nicholson’s Bidding, the-saleroom.com, easyliveauction.com and Invaluable from the comfort of your own home. Each provider gives full instructions.

It is easy to register for bidding and you can browse catalogue items online prior to the sale via any of the bidding platforms.

In Person

You can register to bid at the saleroom on sale day. We require your full name, address, telephone number, photo identification (such as a driving licence) and, in certain circumstances, a bank reference. You will be issued with a paddle number and you must raise your paddle so the auctioneer can see it clearly when you are bidding. The auctioneer will bring the hammer down on the successful bid and identify the winning bid clearly by quoting the paddle number, at which point you will be required to make payment in person.


Bid on any of our auctions online with the following services.

Please note: All sales are bound by our terms and conditions. Please ensure you have read them before bidding.

Buyer's Premium

For all sales, the buyer will pay the hammer price plus a buyer’s premium, unless stated by the auctioneer.

Fine Art Sales (including Painting and Asian Art sales)
25% of the hammer price + VAT on the premium

Saturday Antique Auctions
25% of the hammer price + VAT on the premium

Book & Manuscript Auctions
25% of the hammer price NO VAT (except on qualifying items – please ask for details)

Bidding online costs
Please be aware of the additional premium for using online bidding platforms.


Following the introduction of new regulations in June 2017, we are required to conduct identification checks where customers wish to pay in cash for purchases of 10,000 Euros or more. For ease of understanding and to allow for currency fluctuation, we will value the amount to be equivalent to £7000 (GBP).

The regulations state that when we accept payments at this value or over it is compulsory for us to ask for documents proving the buyer’s identity. Acceptable documents are either a ‘Photo Driving Licence’ or ‘Passport’. When producing these documents they must be original, not copies.Note: these regulations apply to CASH transactions only!

Cheques are accepted only by prior arrangement, and purchases paid with cheque will only be released on clearance through our bank.

A deposit may be asked for on higher value lots and immediate payment or deposit on purchases over £1000.

You may pay with cash below £7000 (€10,000), (without meeting the above criteria) cheque (only accepted upon prior arrangement), credit and debit cards, wire transfer or banker’s draft. Debit cards incur no extra charge. Credit or debit card payments must be made in person unless prior arrangements have been agreed upon.

Our Non-UK customers must ensure they are familiar with their countries’ rules relating to ‘Duty’ and or VAT charges that may be applicable to items they intend to export from the UK.

It is the responsibility of the buyer to be aware of the potential additional costs (or rules) before buying at auction. The Auctioneers are unable to assist with quantifying this due to the diversity in laws applicable to each final destination country.

For further details contact the office. You must pay for your purchase immediately after the sale. All funds must be cleared before goods are released. We request that all purchases are collected immediately after the sale. If you require us to store the items for you, this can be arranged for a fee with a member of staff.

Our full Terms and Conditions are available here

Please note we use The Auctioneer’s Margin Scheme.

Absentee Bid

Customers unable to attend the auction may leave an absentee – or commission/written – bid with the auctioneer, reflecting the maximum amount you are willing to pay for the lot. We are happy to execute these on your behalf and will purchase the lot for you at the lowest possible price, other bids and reserves permitting. Forms for leaving these bids are available in the saleroom during the viewing period and in the back of the catalogue. Once completed, they can be returned to the auctioneer’s office. Absentee and telephone bids are offered as a free service and at the buyer’s risk. We cannot accept liability for any failure to place such bids, and bids are accepted at the buyer’s risk. All bids are accepted at the auctioneers’ discretion.

Telephone Bid

This works in a similar way to Absentee bidding. A member of staff will phone you just before the lot in which you are interested is due to come under the hammer. You will then be able to bid live on the phone via the member of staff, who will keep you up-to-date with bidding progress on the lot and convey your bid to the auctioneer. This free service is available for all sales except Saturday Antique auctions. The minimum lot value for a phone bid is £500. Because phone lines are limited, phone bids must be booked at least 24 hours in advance of the sale. Phone bids are accepted at the sole discretion of the auctioneer. Absentee and telephone bids are offered as a free service and at the buyer’s risk. We cannot accept liability for any failure to place such bids, and bids are accepted at the buyer’s risk.

Auctions at John Nicholson’s are easy to view on and offline, and clients may view without any obligation or pressure to bid. Online catalogues are available showing estimated prices and auctioneers are always on hand to give you advice and information on what you are buying.

Collection of Purchases, Title to Goods and Associated Charges

Only when payment (cleared funds) and collection of the purchased item(s) is the purchase contract deemed to be completed. It is the responsibility of the buyer to ensure both payment and collection are arranged in a period of time following the sale date of no more than 28 days. Should the buyer be unable to conform, they must obtain approval prior to purchase. John Nicholson’s reserve the right to charge for storage and associated costs for non- payment/collection that exceed the 28 day allowance. Storage charges will be levied at a rate of £5.00 + VAT per lot per day. All amounts accrued up to the date of collection must be paid before goods are released.

If the buyer has failed to collect within a period of two months (from sale date), John Nicholson’s reserve the right to re-enter the uncollected items through auction, to recover the cost of storage and associated costs. At this time the buyer relinquishes all claims to ownership and any right to financial compensation.

On the rare occasion of purchased goods being collected without cleared payment ‘John Nicholson’s Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers’ retain full title to the goods on behalf of the vendor. The purchaser will not have title until the full debt has been honoured with cleared funds. (It should be noted, without title or authorisation from the title holder, the buyer has no legal right to re-sell the items.)

It is the responsibility of buyers to familiarise themselves with our Terms & Conditions before entering into a legal contract.


It is the client’s responsibility to arrange delivery or collection after the auction. Please be aware shipping and postage costs are the responsibility of the buyer and needs to be arranged directly by the buyer. This cost is in addition to the original purchase costs and is not the responsibility of John Nicholson’s Auctioneers.

Our recommended companies for national or international delivery of items are Mailboxes Guildford, Mailboxes Chichester, Essential Address and Part & Parcel Couriers. They will be happy to provide you with a quote for packing and shipping. Customers are invited to contact Mailboxes, Essential  or Part & Parcel Couriers Address directly, or via us.

Essential Address: +44 (0)1276 684840 or services@essentialaddress.com
Mailboxes Guildford: +44 (0)1483 453131 or info@mbeguildford.co.uk
Mailboxes Chichester: +44 (0)1243 788221 or info@mbechichester.co.uk
Part & Parcel Couriers: +44 (0)1252 545611 or shipping@partandparceluk.com

Alban Shipping offer collections and deliveries throughout the UK on their weekly Round Britain own van service. Alban Shipping offer professional packing, shipping worldwide via all modes of services, with comprehensive insurance. For more information visit www.albanshipping.co.uk, or contact our sales team on +44 (0)1582 493099 or by email on info@albanshipping.co.uk.