Bidding — How it works

Auctionata combines the elegance and excitement of a traditional auction house with the comfort of real-time online bidding.

Our auctions take place in Berlin and New York City, and are broadcast via live stream so you can participate from your PC, tablet, or smartphone anywhere in the world.

Your favorite art and luxury collectibles are just a click away.


1. Register for an upcoming auction

Register for any auctions you are interested in. If you don't already have an Auctionata account, you'll be asked to create one while registering for an auction.

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2. Bid before or during an auction

Before the auction, you can place absentee bids. Enter the maximum amount you are willing to pay for an item, and bids will be placed for you until you win the auction or your maximum price is exceeded.
During the auction, you can place live bids with any internet-enabled device, as well as by telephone.

3. Watch the auction on your PC, tablet, or smartphone

Enter the online auction room to see the auction take place via livestream. If you've placed an absentee bid, you can continue bidding online in real time once your maximum bid is exceeded. You can also attend the auction in person.

4. Pay after you win

Shortly after the auction, you'll receive an invoice with the total price including the Buyer's Premium, shipping and insurance costs, and any sales taxes that may apply. You can pay by credit card, PayPal, or bank transfer.

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What happens to unsold items?

If an item isn't sold in an auction, you'll have another chance to purchase it from our online shop in the After-sales section.


Before the auction ...

Verification

To begin placing bids, you'll be asked to verify your identity. Verification is quick and simple; you can call us to confirm your details or send us a copy of your official ID by email, fax, or post.
In specific auctions with exceptionally valuable items, further verification may be required.

Item Previews

You can preview the items online for any of our auctions before the auction starts. A few weeks before the auction, full details and pictures of all items will be published. If you would like more details about a specific item, you can request a Skype appointment with one of our experts; we'll show you the item by video and answer any questions you have. You can also request an in-person appointment to preview the item at either our Berlin or New York offices.

Starting Price and Estimated Value

Each item in our auctions is examined and valuated by highly specialized experts. The estimated value is the price our experts believe a professional dealer would charge for the item. The quality and condition of each item is taken into account when deciding the estimated value, and the starting price at auction is usually around 50% of the estimated value.

Currency

The currency of prices and bids is based on the location of the auction. Auctions located in Berlin will be in Euros (EUR), while auctions in New York will be in US Dollars (USD).

Absentee Bidding

Absentee bids are placed before an auction starts. Enter the maximum amount you are willing to bid on a specific item, and our auctioneer will place the lowest possible bid increment to make sure you are always the highest bidder until your maximum bid is exceeded. If the next possible bid increment is more than your maximum amount, no bid will be placed for you. You can win an item and pay less than your maximum amount, but you will never pay more.

You can place an absentee bid online on the page of the item, during the live auction, or in writing by email, fax, or post. To place an absentee bid in writing, just download the Absentee Bidding Form, fill it out, and send it to us before the auction.

*Remember that all bids are legally binding. If you place a bid and win the auction, you are committed to purchasing the item.

Absentee Bid Form Berlin
Absentee Bid Form New York

During the auction ...

Live Online Bidding

If you enjoy the excitement of an auction house, live online bidding is the option for you. Once you’ve created your Auctionata account, simply enter any auction currently in progress and place bids at the click of a button.

We stream live from the auction studios and you can watch it on your PC, tablet or smartphone. Our bidding technology ensures that all bids are placed in the order in which they were received. Make sure you have a strong internet connection for real-time livestream and online bidding.

*Remember that all bids including absentee bids are legally binding. If you place a bid and win the auction, you are committed to purchasing the item.

Live Telephone Bidding

You can place an absentee bid, through the respective lot page for the item on which you wish to bid, and then take advantage of our free telephone service. We will call you during the auction, and give you the opportunity to increase your bid on the item.

Alternatively, you can download the Telephone Bidding Form and send it to us including your maximum bid 1 hour before the auction begins. We will call you a few minutes before your item is up for auction and one of our representatives will place bids for you until your maximum bid is exceeded. Further bids will be placed according to your instructions.

If we can't reach you by telephone at the time of the auction, we will place absentee bids on your behalf up to your maximum bid.

*Remember that all bids including absentee bids are legally binding. If you place a bid and win the auction, you are committed to purchasing the item.

Telephone Bid Form Berlin
Telephone Bid Form New York

Bid Increments

All bids are placed at established increments. Each bid is the amount of the next increment above the current price. These are the standard bid increments at Auctionata:

Reserve

A reserve is the confidential minimum price a seller is willing to accept for some items. To win an item, you have to be the highest bidder, and your bid has to exceed the reserve. If an item’s reserve is not met, the auction ends in a conditional sale or with the item unsold. The reserve will never be higher than the estimated value of the item.

Conditional Sale

A conditional sale is a service offered by Auctionata. This means that the reserve was not met, but we believe we might be able to help the highest bidder reach an agreement with the seller to complete the purchase. If you are the highest bidder of an auction that ends in a conditional sale, Auctionata will contact you with more information.


After you win ...

Payment

Congratulations! You've won an item and are ready to pay and receive your purchase. We'll send you an invoice with the final total price, including the Buyer's Premium, shipping charges, Resale Royalty Rights when applicable and any taxes that might apply.
As soon as you receive the invoice, you can pay by credit card, PayPal, or a direct bank transfer. When we receive your payment, we'll send you a confirmation email and immediately start processing your shipment.

Buyer's Premium

The Buyer's Premium is the standard fee charged for offering and handling auctions. It is calculated based on the hammer price. Our standard Buyer's Premium is calculated as follows:

  • On the first 1,000,000.00 of the hammer price: 25%
  • On the part from 1,000,000.01 to 2,000,000.00: 20%
  • On the part above 2,000,000.01: 15%
  • For cars, there is a flat Buyer's Premium of 15% on the total hammer price.

Any variations to the standard Buyer's Premium will be clearly stated in the information specific to that auction.
Sales tax (VAT) will be added when applicable.

Sales Tax (VAT)

Taxes are calculated based on the location of the auction, the location of the buyer, and the type of seller offering the item. If you are in the United States, you will only pay taxes on items in our NYC auctions. For auctions in Berlin, taxes are only charged for purchases within the EU. For all international shipments, the buyer is responsible for any customs fees or additional charges that may apply.

Shipping

Shipping and packaging costs are calculated based on the size, weight, value, and destination of the item. See our Overview of Fees to calculate your estimated shipping costs; keep in mind these are only estimates, as some items require special care or have specific packaging needs.
Shipping insurance against loss and damage is charged on all items at a flat rate of 2.5% (plus taxes, when applicable) of the total of the hammer price and Buyer's Premium.

Our professional team packages each item carefully to ensure it arrives to you quickly and safely. From the moment we receive your payment, we estimate that you will receive your shipment in 2 weeks. Shipping times vary based on packaging requirements, international customs, etc. Any fees charged by international customs will be the responsibility of the buyer.

Resale Royalty Rights

In some specific cases, Resale Royalty Rights will be added to your invoice. This is a small percentage of the hammer price (without sales tax or Buyer's Premium) paid to artists who are still living or have died within the last 70 years. When they apply, Resale Royalty Rights are calculated as follows:

  • 4% of the hammer price up to €50,000.00
  • 3% from €50,000.01 to €200,000.00
  • 1% from €200,000.01 to €350,000.00
  • 0.5% from €350,000.01 to €500,000.00
  • 0.25% above €500,000.00 of the hammer price

Sales tax (VAT) will be added when applicable.

Auctionata Guarantee

The authenticity of every item on Auctionata is fully guaranteed. Our specialized experts appraise each item before an auction, but if the authenticity is proved incorrect, you can return the item for a full refund. Read more about the Auctionata Guarantee.