1. Introduction

The following informative notes are intended to assist buyers, particularly those inexperienced or new to our salerooms. All sales are conducted on our printed Conditions of Sale which are readily available for inspection and normally accompany catalogues. Our staff will be happy to help you if there is anything you do not fully understand.

2. Agency

As auctioneers we usually contract as agents for the seller whose identity, for reasons of confidentiality, is not normally disclosed. Accordingly if you buy, your primary contract is with the seller.

3. Estimates

Estimates are designed to help buyers gauge what sort of sum might be involved for the purchase of a particular lot. The lower estimate may represent the reserve price and certainly will not be below it. Estimates do not include the buyer's Premium or VAT (where chargeable). Estimates are prepared some time before the sale and may be altered by announcement before the sale. They are in no sense definitive.

4. Buyer's Premium

The buyer shall pay the hammer price, together with a premium thereon of 26.00% up to the first £20,000 and then 25.00% over £20,000 per lot for all auctions, + VAT on the premium at the rate imposed by law, in addition to the final hammer price. Lots purchased online will attract an additional charge for this service in the sum of 4.95% of the hammer price plus VAT at the rate imposed.

5. VAT

A 'dagger' symbol indicates that VAT is payable by the buyer at the standard rate (presently 20%) on the hammer price as well as being an element in the buyer's premium. This imposition of VAT is likely to be because the seller is registered for VAT within the European Union and is not operating the Dealers Margin Scheme or because VAT is due at 20%% on importation into the UK. The double 'dagger' symbol indicates that the lot has been imported from outside the European Union and the present position is that these lots are liable to a reduced rate of VAT (5%) on the hammer price and 20% on the buyer's premium. Lots which appear without either of the above symbols indicate that no VAT is payable on the hammer price. This is because such lots are sold using the Auctioneers' Margin Scheme and it should be noted that the VAT included within the Premium is not recoverable as input tax.

6. Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite")

If a lot is affected by this right it will be identified with the symbol "*" next to the lot number. The buyer agrees to pay Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood an amount equal to the resale royalty and we will pay such amount to the artist's collecting agent. Resale royalty applies where the Hammer Price is £1,000  or more and the amount cannot be more than £12,500  per lot. The amount is calculated as follows: Royalty for the portion of the Hammer Price (in £) 4.00% up to 50,000 3.00% between 50,000.1 and 200,000 1.00% between 200,000.1 and 350,000 0.50% between 350,000.01 and 500,000 0.25% in excess of 500,000.

Please note from 1st April 2024 that this is now calculated in GBP (£)

7. Condition of Lots

We are, primarily, agents for the seller. We are dependent on information provided by the seller and whilst we may inspect lots and act reasonably in taking a general view about them we are normally unable to carry out a detailed or any examination of lots in order to ascertain their condition in the way in which it would be wise for a buyer to do. Intending buyers have ample opportunity for inspection of goods and, therefore, accept responsibility for inspecting and investigating lots in which they may be interested. Please note carefully the exclusion of liability for the condition of lots contained in the Conditions of Sale. Neither the seller nor we, as the auctioneers, accept any responsibility for their condition. In particular mechanical objects of any age are not guaranteed to be in working order. However, in so far as we have examined the goods and make a representation about their condition, we shall be liable for any defect which that examination ought to have revealed to the auctioneer but which would not have been revealed to the buyer had the buyer examined the goods. Additionally, in specified circumstances lots mis-described because they are 'deliberate forgeries' may be returned and repayment made. There is a three (3) week time limit. (The expression 'deliberate forgery' is defined in our Conditions of Sale).

8. Electrical Goods

These are sold as 'antiques' only and if bought for use must be checked over for compliance with safety regulations by a qualified electrician first.

9. Export of Goods

The export of any lot from the UK or import into any other country may be subject to one or more export or import licences being granted. It is the buyers responsibility to obtain any relevant export or import licence. The denial of any licence required or delay in obtaining such licence cannot justify the cancellation of the sale or any delay in making payment of the total amount due.

Buyers intending to export goods should ascertain (a) whether an export licence is required and (b) whether there is any specific prohibition on importing goods of that character because, eg: they may contain prohibited materials such as ivory. Ask us if you need help.

10. Bidding

If you wish to bid at an auction, you will need to register and provide proof of identity and of your address and provide photographic ID. You will be invoiced to the name and address on the registration form. You may be asked to pay a deposit of £5,000 and this applies to online bidding, commission bidding, telephone bidding and bidding in person.

Any deposit must be paid by debit card or electronic transfer. Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood must have cleared funds no later than 12 noon GMT, the day prior to the auction. If you are not successful you will be refunded (without interest) within seven working days. All telephone bids must be booked by 4.30pm on the day prior to the auction.

11. Commission Bidding

Commission bids may be left with the auctioneers indicating the maximum amount to be bid excluding buyer's premium. They will be executed as cheaply as possible having regard to the reserve (if any) and competing bids. If two buyers submit identical commission bids, the auctioneers may prefer the first bid received. Please enquire in advance about our arrangements for the leaving of commission bids by telephone or fax.

12. Methods of Payment

As a general rule, any cheques tendered will need to be cleared before removal of the goods is permitted. Please discuss with our office in advance of the sale if other methods of payment are envisaged.

All payments must be made in sterling.

The following methods of payment are available:-

  • Cash (up to £1,000)
  • Cheque
  • Sterling Bank Draft
  • Electronic Bank Transfer in Sterling
  • Credit Cards (Visa and MasterCard )
  • Debit Cards (Visa, Delta, Switch, Connect, etc)

Cheques and drafts should be made payable to Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood Ltd.

Client Account

Bank transfers should be made to our client bank account. Please contact us on +44 (0)1392 413100 or by email for the details of this account.

Debit and Credit Card Payments

If a purchaser is unknown to the auctioneers and is intending to pay by credit or debit card we will require the card holder to attend in person with suitable photographic identification, otherwise payment is required by BACS/CHAPS or electronic bank transfer. As a general rule any cheques tendered will need to be cleared before removal of the goods is permitted. Please discuss with our office in advance of the sale if other methods of payment are envisaged.

Card payments where the cardholder is not present will only be accepted for transactions up to £1,000.

Clearance Times

Sterling cheques drawn on UK banks will generally clear on the fifth working day after receipt. Sterling bank drafts drawn on UK banks can generally be cleared immediately.

Bank transfers clear as soon as our bank receives funds (which does not happen instantaneously after payment instructions are given).

Credit and debit card payments can be cleared immediately, subject to confirmation with the card issuer.

13. Collection and Storage

Please note what the Conditions of Sale state about collection and storage. It is important that goods are paid for and collected promptly. Any delay may involve the buyer in paying our removal and storage charges.

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