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Selling at Swann

  • Selling at Swann


    Swann accepts consignments of quality material year round in our areas of specialty. Follow the guide below for consigning with Swann.


    1 • Send us a list of proposed consignments with images for review by a specialist. 

    2 • Upon request, ship your material to us. Discuss estimates, reserves, and other charges with a specialist. Consigned items must be received at Swann at least 3 months in advance of the sale date to allow for catalogue preparation, advertising and promotion.

    3 • Review, sign and return the Consignment Agreement. Your consignments will be placed in an appropriate auction.

    4 • We will send you a pre-sale notification and a catalogue for any auction containing your consignments.

    5 • You will receive a post-sale notification about a week after the auction, indicating the hammer prices achieved for your items.

    6 • Swann will issue payment 45 calendar days after the auction.


    Jump to:


    Consignment Costs






    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


    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.


    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


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