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Buying at Swann

  • Buying at Swann


    All of our auctions are open to the public and free of charge. The guide below offers essential information and options. Are you ready to bid? Good luck! Still have questions? Please get in touch.


    1 • Read our Terms and Conditions of Sale and Advice to Prospective Bidders.

    2 • Visit an exhibition or view our online catalogue

    3 • Ask questions: Swann specialists are accessible in person, by phone or email.

    4 • Choose your bidding method:

    a) In person: register in person for a paddle a half hour before or during the auction.

    b) Absentee: submit bids in advance online on any lot view page in our online catalogues, in person or over the phone, authorizing the auctioneer to bid up to your specified limit.

    c) Telephone: we'll call you and bid on your behalf during the auction.

    d) Live Online Bidding: available via Invaluable.com

    5 • The buyer's premium and any applicable sales tax and shipping costs, as outlined in Terms and Conditions of Sale, are added to the hammer price of each lot sold.

    6 • Invoices are generated approximately an hour after the sale has concluded. If you are not present, a preliminary invoice will be sent to you via e-mail, and a final invoice will be mailed to you within a week of the sale date. We do not accept credit cards, payment must be made via cash, cashier's check, or certified check drawn on a U.S. bank.

    7 • Purchases cannot be claimed until the auction has concluded. 


    Jump to: FAQ




    Printed auction catalogues can be purchased online or in person. You can also purchase a subscription to receive all catalogues for sales in your area of interest.


    Register for an account on our site to place bids, track lots you are interested in, sign up for keyword alerts, and more.


    How much is the buyer's premium? 

    For any item purchased directly through Swann, the buyer's premium is 25% of the hammer price, up to and including $100,000; 20% of the hammer price above $100,000 up to and including $1,000,000; 12% of the hammer price after $1,000,000. An additional buyer's premium is charged when purchasing items through third-party services like Invaluable.com.


    What is the minimum price for a lot?

    The minimum acceptable bid at Swann is half the low estimate.


    What is involved in bidding by telephone?

    Specify the lots you wish to bid on and provide a phone number where a Swann employee can reach you during the auction. The staff member will call you about five lots before your first lot. When your lot comes up, the Swann representative will tell you the opening bid and subsequent competitive bids; you will indicate when you wish to bid, and the staff member will signal your bids to the auctioneer.


    Hammer Price vs. Price Realized

    The hammer price is the winning bid. The price realized is the hammer price, plus the buyer's premium.


    How are estimates determined? 

    The estimate is a value range based on prices fetched at auction by similar items, dealer's prices, and the specialist's knowledge of the current market. 


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