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SOCIETY OF FINE ART AUCTIONEERS AND VALUERS and the ROYAL INSTITUTION OF CHARTERED SURVEYORS CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS


INFORMATION FOR BUYERS


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. The purchase price. The Buyer shall pay the hammer price together with a premium thereon of 22% on the first £500,000 and 12% thereafter + VAT at the appropriate rate.


5. VAT. (*) indicates that VAT at the current standard rate is payable by the purchaser 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 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 gross lot price (i.e. both the hammer price and 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. 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 misdescribed because they are ‘deliberate forgeries’ may be returned and repayment made. There is a 3 week time limit. (The expression ‘deliberate forgery’ is defined in our Conditions of Sale).


7. 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.


8. Export of goods. Buyers intending to export goods should ascertain (a) whether an export licence is required for the goods to leave the U.K. and (b) whether there is any specific prohibition on importing the goods in question into the destination country because, e.g. they may contain prohibited materials such as ivory. Charges may be applicable for export licences. Ask us if you need help. The denial of any permit or licence shall not justify cancellation or rescission of the sale contract or any delay in payment.


9. Bidding. Bidders will be required to register before the sale commences and lots will be invoiced to the name and address on the registration form. Some form of identification will be required if you are unknown to us. Please enquire in advance about our arrangements for telephone bidding.


10. Commission bidding. Commission bids may be left with the auctioneers indicating the maximum amount to be bid excluding buyers’ 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.


11. 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 (except cash).


12. 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 storage charges.


TERMS OF CONSIGNMENT FOR SELLERS


1. Interpretation. In these Terms the words ‘you’, ‘yours’, etc. refer to the Seller and if the consignment of goods to us is made by an agent we assume that the Seller has authorised the consignment and that the consignor has the Seller’s authority to contract. Similarly the words ‘we’, ‘us’, etc. refer to the Auctioneers.


2. Commission is charged to sellers at the following rates: 15% + VAT on each lot sold for up to £999, 10% + VAT on each lot realising £1,000 and above.


3. Removal costs. Items for sale must be consigned to the sale room by any stated deadline and at your expense. We may be able to assist you with this process but any liability incurred to a carrier for haulage charges is solely your responsibility.


4. Loss and damage waiver. We are not regulated by the FSA for the provision of insurance to clients. However, we for our own protection assume liability for property consigned to us at lower pre-sale estimate. To justify accepting liability, we make a charge of 1.5% of the hammer price plus VAT or, if unsold, our mid estimate of the hammer price. If the owner of goods consigned instructs us in writing not to take such action, they then remain at owner’s risk unless and until the property in them passes to the Buyer or they are collected by or on behalf of the owner, and clause 4 is inapplicable.


5. Illustrations. The cost of any illustrations is borne by you. If we consider that the lot should be illustrated your permission will usually be asked first. The copyright in respect of such illustrations shall be the property of us, the auctioneers, as is the text of the catalogue.


6. Minimum bids and our discretion. Goods may be offered subject to a reserve agreed between us before the sale in accordance with clause 7.


7. We may sell lots below the reserve provided we account to you for the same sale proceeds as you would have received had the reserve been the hammer price. If you specifically give us ‘discretion’ we may accept a bid of up to 10% below the formal reserve.


Reserves.


(a) You are entitled to place prior to the auction a reserve on any lot consigned, being the minimum hammer price at which that lot may be sold. Reserves must be reasonable and we may decline to offer goods which in our opinion would be subject to an unreasonably high reserve (in which case goods carry the storage and insurance charges stipulated in these Terms of Consignment).


(b) A reserve once set cannot be changed except with our consent. (c) Where a reserve has been placed only we may bid on your behalf and only up to the reserve (if any) and you may in no circumstances bid personally.


8. Electrical items. These are subject to detailed statutory safety controls. Where such items are accepted for sale you accept responsibility for the cost of testing by external contractors. Goods not certified as safe by an electrician (unless antiques) will not be accepted for sale. They must be removed at your expense on your being notified. We reserve the right to dispose of unsafe goods as refuse, at your expense.


9. Soft furnishings. The sale of soft furnishings is strictly regulated by statute law in the interests of fire safety. Goods found to infringe safety regulations will not be offered and must be removed at your expense. We reserve the right to dispose of unsafe goods as refuse, at your expense. The rights of disposal referred to in clause 8 and 9 are subject to the provisions of The Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977, Schedule 1, a copy of which is available for inspection on request.


10. Descriptions. Please assist us with accurate information as to the provenance etc. of goods where this is relevant. There is strict liability for the accuracy of descriptions under modern consumer legislation and in some circumstances responsibility lies with sellers if inaccuracies occur. We will assume that you have approved the catalogue description of your lots unless informed to the contrary.


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