Lancashire residents hoping to bag a Victorian oak partners desk at auction often forget about commission fees, which can bump up the hammer price considerably. Christie’s has just announced a big hike on premium thresholds.
It is fair to say that the average person in Cumbria who wants a Victorian balloon back dining chair is hardly likely to travel down to Christie’s of London to bid for it. If they do, they should be prepared to stump up 25% of the hammer price as buyer’s commission; unless the chair realises more than £25,000, when the commission drops to a slightly more reasonable 20%. The lowest rate of 12.5% only applies to lots above the £500,000 mark.
At Christie’s, a £25,000 antique oak pedestal desk is considered to be at the bottom end of the market, hence the buyer’s premium. However, the threshold at which this changes will be raised to £37,500 on 11th March, while the lowest premium will apply only to lots above £750,000. Taking a Chippendale antique cabinet with a hammer price of £500,000 as an example, today’s buyer’s premium of £101,250 will rise to £101,875 in March.
One of the reasons Christie’s has given for raising the thresholds is that it protects against increasing the top premium of 25%. Buyers in the Ribble Valley can find Victorian mahogany partners desks and other fine furniture at their local antiques dealer, paying only the price on the ticket.
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