Author Topic: Auction House Buyer's Premiums  (Read 1403 times)

Offline AdamCarterJones

  • Hoarder
  • ****
  • Posts: 1433
Auction House Buyer's Premiums
« on: April 30, 2020, 02:59:11 PM »
Hi Guys,

First of all, I hope everyone is safe and well.

I've been reading a lot about auction house BPs on Facebook and noticed a few comments here.


I fully agree BPs are frustrating. I've said as much in the past, but since they were brought in years ago by Sotheby's (I think!), it's part and parcel of auction life.

However, after having worked in the industry and been involved from a vendor point of view in a major, personal sale (and still am), I now have a completely different view. Most of those who complain have never actually experienced the other side of it either, and I was one of those.

When discussing BPs, we must consider what auction houses do behind the scenes. Do they have their own online bidding platform? How many full-time staff do they have? What about staff wages (including overtime), storage costs, insurance, marketing, advertising and refreshments on auction days? When you factor all that in, you begin to recognise and understand where part of the BPs go.

Once I've sold my main Bond poster collection with Prop Store, I'm going to provide a full and factual review, but in the meantime as they are my most recent and direct experience, let's talk about them in terms of BPs:
Prop Store's BP is 25% plus Value Added Tax (VAT), which equals 30% total - if you are an overseas buyer, you don't pay the VAT. As well as this, if you purchase as a British business you can reclaim the VAT if you know what you are doing. After experiencing what Prop Store do firsthand, I don't actually mind paying the BP if the total price fits in with my budget for a said item. If it doesn't then I stop bidding. Simple. And the same applies to all auctions.

The problem I now have is with smaller auction houses who charge 25% upwards without VAT, yet in the main don't do a great job. Customer service is a big one for me too and most don't come close to Prop Store, for example, so they would be better lowering their BPs to compete.

Controversial View
I believe the UK government should force through a max standard BP of 25% including VAT (with other fees such as Invaluable extra as is already the case). This would combat the ever-increasing standard fees. Some auction houses already follow this, with a minor few charging less.

It must be remembered that you cannot compare the likes of Bruce and Rich to a standard auction house; completely different business set-ups.

« Last Edit: April 30, 2020, 03:02:16 PM by AdamCarterJones »
Best wishes,