I'm New to Auction

General Information

I'm New to Auction


Fine Art new to auction guide

Whether you are new to buying or selling with Brightwells, we would like to welcome you and hope this simple guide may be of some help. Whether you choose to read all or none of it when you come to one of our events you can get all the support you need by approaching any member of Brightwells’ staff and explaining that you are new to our auctions. Our team will gladly help you through the simple processes.

Buying Fine Art, Antiques & General Sale Items

Brightwells have a range of specialist and general sale auctions which you can make yourself familiar with by browsing through the website. Auctions are an exciting way of buying and Brightwells make the process as easy as possible whilst providing the surety of a 150 year old nationally recognised company. The following is a simple guide to getting the most from your visit to Brightwells.

Prior to attending a particular sale

  • Buy the auction catalogue. Here you will find the list of objects being offered for sale and these are known as lots, each lot having its own particular number. Sometimes the lots will be a collection of objects being sold under one lot number, look carefully at the descriptions against each entry.Remember, estimates are only offered as a rough guide and objects may be sold for more or less on the day of the sale.
  • Do attend a sale preview. These usually take place on two or three days before the sale and on the day of sale up to the start of the Auction. Unfortunately, lots cannot usually be viewed once an Auction has commenced.
  • It is possible to bid just by inspecting a photograph and obtaining a condition report, but we do not recommend this for inexperienced buyers.
  • Should you view a sale and not be able to attend, you may leave a commission bid. Special forms are available for this and the lots will be purchased on your behalf at the lowest possible price, subject to other bids and reserves.
  • Check the catalogue for our buyer’s premium (this is a percentage added on to any successful bid made) and bear in mind that these rates are also subject to VAT.

At the auction

  • In order to bid you will need to register prior to our sales. This is a simple process and where the sales are held at our Leominster Easters Court premises the registration office is immediately in front of you as you walk in from the lobby. You will then be allocated a buyer’s number by which you will be identified during the auction and which you may use on subsequent visits.
  • Check the timing of the sale. Most of our sales last for several hours. Take a guide from our staff about when your lot number may come under the hammer (up for sale) but remember this is only a guide, so leave yourself some extra time. Our café is conveniently located adjacent to the sale hall and you can usually listen to the sale whilst waiting for your lot number and enjoying a cup of coffee!
  • If you are completely new to auctions, ensure you listen to other lots being sold so that you can get used to the bidding process. During the sale, our auctioneer will call out the lot number of the item being sold and the bidding will usually start somewhere below the lower estimate. Our clients have many different ways of signalling a bid, some of which are more eccentric than others! The easiest way is to clearly raise the paddle that you will be given with your buyer’s number on it but waving or nodding is fine for those who are slightly more confident. Don’t worry about the possibility of accidentally having a bid taken when it wasn’t intended, our auctioneers are very experienced and as well as the normal signal our auctioneers are looking for eye contact.
  • In a busy auction room and particularly where the bids are progressing quickly, make sure your gestures are confident enough to attract the auctioneer’s attention. If the auctioneer is busy with two bidders, don’t worry, as soon as one of those two bidders drops out he will look round the room to check for other interested parties. If the bidding is still below your limit this will be your chance!
  • When the Auctioneer considers there will be no further bids he finalises the sale by striking the rostrum with his gavel and he will then confirm your buyer’s number if you are the successful bidder.
  • When you have successfully concluded bidding on your lot or lots, return to the registration office where you pay for your purchase and obtain the necessary release documentation to allow you to take your purchase with you. In the case of items that are too large or fragile, arrangements for special collections can be made with our staff but generally items will need to be removed on the day of the sale.

Selling Fine Art, Antiques & General Sale Items

Valuing your item

  • Our Fine Art Department sells a wide range of objects and artifacts ranging from high value antique items to household objects.
  • We are happy to advise you on the amount we think any object will make at auction.
  • Items may be brought to the saleroom by appointment at any time and one of our Valuers will advise you.
  • Some of our Specialist Valuers only attend once a month, usually on a Friday, but when you ring up to make an appointment this will be explained to you. We are also happy to call at your home to inspect items in situ. Once again just ring to make an appointment.
  • We hold valuation days in centres some distance from Leominster, which are advertised in the local press, or our staff will inform you of the next date in your area.
  • Our Valuer will suggest an estimate for each item, which is the price range within which it is likely to sell.
  • Should you wish, the Valuer will also recommend a reserve price below which the item will not be sold, thus protecting your return from the item.

When you decide to sell

  • We will fill out an entry form, giving a description of your items and showing the estimate and reserve if appropriate.
  • It is important that you read the back of the entry form where the Special Conditions of Sale are printed. Should you not understand anything please ask.
  • You may deliver items to the sale rooms yourself by appointment, or we can arrange for them to be collected from your home. Should you deliver items yourself assistance is available for unloading.
  • We will advise you of the most appropriate sale for your items to be included in and, except for general sale items, inform you when they are to be sold.
  • We will advise you whether we think the items will benefit from a photograph which may be included in the catalogue and will appear on the web. There is a small additional charge for this, but it can make a big difference to the price of high value and unusual objects.
  • We will notify you of the outcome of the sale within 7 days and you will receive a cheque within 28 days of the sale for the price realised, less our charges.
  • Should an item be not sold, we will happily re-enter it in the next appropriate sale or make arrangements for you to collect it within 14 days.

We hope that this brief guide is of help to you but do remember we are always on hand to give you any support that you may need and you can make contact either by visiting us or by telephoning 01568 611122 and mentioning to our receptionist that you are new to fine art auctions. Whether you are a buyer or seller we do hope that your auction experience with us here at Brightwells is enjoyable and fruitful.