Consign With Swann
Swann Galleries is a third-generation family business and the oldest specialty auction house in New York City. We are known for our innovative approach to auctions, including the first sale in the U.S. dedicated to photographs and the world’s first department for African-American Fine Art. Our sales are closely watched by major collectors and institutions and our international network of marketing channels ensures your consignments are seen around the world. Swann Galleries' specialists are ready to make consigning with us an easy and rewarding partnership.
How To Consign
1 • Contact a specialist with a list of proposed consignments and images for review. Contact information can be found on each of our department pages, or use the form below.
2 • Discuss estimates, reserves, and other charges with a specialist. Upon request, ship your material to us. Think ahead: 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 we provide. Your consignments will be placed in an appropriate auction.
4 • We will send you a pre-sale notification 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.
Your questions are welcome throughout the consigning process.
What kind of information is needed when submitting material?
- Author / Artist
- Title / Subject
- Place of Publication
- Signature, Inscription, Edition Number
- Descriptions of binding or mount
- Provenance and acquisition history
- Photograph of the work and close-ups of important details
Are there 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.
- Photography & marketing 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.
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 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.
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.