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Consigning with Swann

  • FAQ


    Information Needed When Submitting Material

    • Author / Artist

    • Title / Subject

    • Date

    • Place of Publication

    • Dimensions

    • Signature, Inscription, Edition Number

    • Descriptions of binding or mount

    • Condition

    • Provenance and acquisition history

    • Photograph of the work and close-ups of important details


    Become a Consignor 


    Consignment Costs

    Sellers are charged a commission based on the hammer price of each lot. The standard commission structure is on a sliding scale:

    • 15% for each lot over $1,000 up to and including $2,000

    • 10% for lots selling for more than $2,000

    • A minimum charge of $25 for lots that fail to sell

    • When lots do not reach the confidential reserve price but still receive bids below the reserve, a buy-in fee of 5% of the reserve is charged. 

    Other charges:

    • Insurance

    • Illustration fee

    • Conservation and matting, as required


    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. Estimates are published in the catalogue along with a description of the item as a guide to potential buyers.


    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 Invaluable.


    Hammer Price vs. Price Realized

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


    What is a "reserve"?

    A reserve is a pre-established minimum price. Our house reserve is 50% of the low estimate, but can be raised in confidential consultation with a specialist. Reserves can never be more than the low estimate. Excessive reserves and estimates tend to inhibit bidding and work to the consignor's disadvantage.


    What happens to unsold items?

    The consignor consults with the specialist and decides whether to re-offer the material in a future sale or to have it returned.



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