Buying with The Rostrum

Below you will find some of the terms used in the auction which will help to explain how it all works. If, however, you would like any further information or clarification then please contact us directly.

Hammer Price

This is the price that the lot sold for at auction. In addition to this price you will have to pay a buyer’s premium charge. Buyers Premium will be subject to VAT  and certain lots may be subject to additional charges (such as Artist’s Resale Right). Any additional charges will be identified in the sales catalogues.

Buyer’s Premium

A premium of 20% (plus VAT) will be charged on top of the hammer price on all lots. VAT is not applicable on books and unframed maps.

Viewing days

On viewing days, you will be able to view all the lots on offer in person and ask for advice from our specialists.


On-site parking is available. Please respect the on-site speed limit of a MAXIMUM of 10 mph. This is a strict requirement.

Lot Numbers

Each item to be auctioned carries a number to identify it. Each lot number will also carry a QR code (a type of barcode) which can be scanned on a telephone app that will bring up all the lot information on your telephone.


This is an approximate guide to the price that a lot is expected to realise.

Online Bidding

We use the latest technology to ensure that you are able to bid on all of our sales from the comfort of your own homes, wherever that may be. Whether you are a UK-based or an international bidder, our online bidding systems allow you to access each auction in real-time whilst soaking up the saleroom atmosphere with live video and audio feeds.

Online bidding is available for our Fine Art Sales via or

Online bidding is available for our General Sales via

You will need to create an account which can be done quickly. Click here to set up an account.

To sign up for easylive Auction please click here

If you are not able to follow the auction live, you can leave an ‘autobid’, which is the maximum amount you are willing to pay for a lot, in advance of the sale beginning (this can be hours, days or even weeks before).

Once the auction starts, or will place your bids for you, bidding at the level needed to keep you in the lead whilst ensuring you never go beyond your limit. If nobody else bids more than your maximum bid then you will win the lot.

To bid live in real-time, just log on in plenty of time for your lots and click the ‘Bid Live Now’ button.

Wait for the amount you want to bid to appear on the screen and click the blue bid button. If you are the highest bidder, the button will turn green. If you are outbid, the blue button will reappear and you can have another go.

Any lots purchased online with will be subject to an additional 5.94% (4.95% plus VAT) which is applied by the

Any lots purchased online with will be subject to an additional 3.6% (3% plus VAT).

Bidders are strongly advised not to rely solely on the webcast audio to place live bids as both the audio and video can lag behind the sale by a varying degree. Please place live bids only by the textual information displayed on the bidding window which will accurately reflect the current state of bidding.

Bidding in Room

Your name and address are registered into the computer and a numbered paddle is issued for you to bid with on the day. You indicate that you would like to bid by showing your paddle clearly to the auctioneer. Do not be concerned if the auctioneer appears to be ignoring you! He/She is not – they may just be taking the bids from 2 bidders until one of them drop out and then that will be your chance to ‘get in’. If you are successful, then your number will be announced by the auctioneer as the winning buyer. We will need proof of ID before allocating you with a paddle number.

*Please note that any changes to restrictions related to Covid-19 to in-room bidding will be advised as soon as possible on our website.

Commission Bids

You can leave your bids with us and we will endeavour to buy on your behalf as cheaply as possible. The bidding does not start at the price you indicate. You can leave a commission bid via our website by first creating an account.

If it is possible you might spend in excess of £1000 we will need proof of ID. This will then be checked and safely stored for 5-years.

You can also submit a commission bid as follows:

  • Complete a commission bid form when you visit us in person.
  • Post a commission bid to us.
  • Call us on 01263 586450 to leave your bid.
  • Email your bid to  Again emailed bids should arrive 24 hours before the sale starts. We will obviously do our very best to take all bids that come in at any time but sale days can be very busy.

*There is no fee payable for commission bids.

Bidding by Telephone

Although we can accept telephone bids, there is still a limit and so it is advisable to contact us as soon as possible if you want to bid in this way and at least 24 hours before the start of the sale. A member of our staff will call you from the saleroom shortly before the item comes up for sale. Please note that we cannot accept applications for this service on the day of the sale.

Telephone bids are not necessarily available on all lots but we will try to accommodate all requests.

Please do bear in mind the fallibility of telephone connections and the possible loss of reception.

There is no fee payable for telephone bids.

Additional Charges


Pictures and original prints by European artists are subject to a resale royalty if the hammer price exceeds 1000 Euros. This has now been extended to include living European artists and all European artists who have died in the preceding 70 years.

The buyers of such lots agree to pay The Rostrum this royalty and we shall forward it to the artists’ collecting agents. The rate varies as follows and is quoted in Euros:

1000-50,000 4%

50,000.01-200,000 3%

Rates above this are available on request. In any event the Artists’ Resale Rights has a limit of 12,500 Euros. The rate of exchange of the Euro to Pound Sterling will be as prevailing at the date of the sale.

The Artists’ Resale Rights is applicable to the United Kingdom despite not being part of the European Union.

VAT at the current rate is payable on all commissions, premiums and charges, except in certain circumstances (e.g. Printed books, unframed maps, etc.) These are normally noted in the sales catalogues.

Condition Reports

The responsibility for the detail of the condition of an item remains with the buyer. Whereas The Rostrum will attempt to give the most accurate condition reports to customers, such reports are not binding in any way.

Selling with The Rostrum

The Rostrum will be keen to take consignments of single items through to multiple items from customers. At all times we will act in the best interests of the client and appraise realistically what one might expect at auction.

Please do contact us with requests for any further information.

Vendors are charged a commission for the sale of goods. (see below).

There is generally a lotting fee of £5 per lot. In some specialist sales the lotting fee may be £10 per item to include photography, insurance and promotion, as appropriate.

Vendors fees: 15% plus VAT for all items sold and 10% plus VAT for items sold for £1,001 or more.

Free Valuations

Valuations are available at our Thorpe Market salerooms on a daily basis, by appointment. Please telephone 01263 586450 to arrange. Or e-mail us at
Alternatively, you can drop into our Holt Office in normal working hours EXCEPT Sundays and Mondays when we are closed. Again please telephone 01263 712374 to make an appointment.

We will give an initial assessment as to the type of valuation needed and act on your instructions from there.

We can do online valuations. Please click here for further information.

Alternatively, photos and details can be emailed to us at

We will advertise valuation days and fairs where we will be standing and we will look forward to seeing customers on those occasions.

House Visits

For clients not able to visit the Salerooms or for valuations of larger items, we can arrange visits to clients’ homes. There is no charge for this service.

House Clearances

We will have clearance sales and on completing any house clearance we will advise if there are items that should be reserved for more specialist sales. In some cases we may pass on items to one of our partners for fast turn rounds.

If you would like to know more about this service then please contact us. Click here.

Full Terms and Conditions

Our full Terms & Conditions can be found on our website by clicking here.