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Frequently Asked Questions


What is a 'Lot'?

A lot is any item offered for sale; it may comprise a single item or include several individual items for sale as a group.

What is a 'Bid'?

A bid is a legally binding offer to purchase a lot made in person by the bidder or by other means at any auction sale.  When the hammer falls, the highest bid offered becomes the selling price, with addition of the buyer's premium and VAT and a legally enforceable contract is immediately entered into between seller and buyer, executed through the agency of TimeLine Auctions Ltd.

What is an 'Estimate'?

An estimate is an approximate possible selling price range, based upon information available at the time of cataloguing.  The low estimate is usually the Reserve.  The hammer price attained for a lot will however be influenced by many factors, including such matters as competition between bidders and general market demand at the time of sale and might be considerably higher than the high estimate figure.

What is the 'Hammer Price'?

The hammer price is the amount of the highest bid offered for a lot, at the time the Auctioneer brings down his hammer.

What is the 'Selling Commission'?

The Selling Commission is the amount, calculated as a percentage inclusive of VAT, of the hammer price payable by the seller to TimeLine Auctions Ltd. Selling Commissions, together with any other charges that may be applicable, are deducted from the sale proceeds by TimeLine Auctions Ltd, and the net proceeds are forwarded to the seller, after cleared funds have been received from the buyer.

What is the 'Buyer's Premium'?

The Buyer's Premium is the amount, calculated as a percentage of the hammer price, payable by the buyer to TimeLine Auctions Ltd in addition to the hammer price.  The Buyer's Premium plus any additional charges must be paid and funds cleared before any lot may be released or shipped.  The amount of the Buyer's Premium is 25% of the Hammer Price inclusive of VAT.

What is 'Viewing'?

Viewing is the opportunity for potential bidders to inspect and examine the lots. Viewing for the general public will be available at the sale venue on the day and evening before the sale, and on sale day itself for printed catalogue sales. The opportunity to view lots may also be possible on other dates, subject to appointment or announcement. For eAuction Sales, viewing is the day before the sale, from 12 noon, at The Bistro Suite, Halfway House Inn, Southend Arterial Rd, East Horndon, Brentwood, Essex, CM13 3LL, UK., or at our premises next door by appointment.

Why do I have to provide Proof of Identity and Address?

This is needed by us to prevent fraud and to combat identity theft and can be needed to comply with anti-money laundering rules.  Security is of great importance to our clients.  We do not hold this information electronically and we comply with Data Protection requirements.


How do I sell my item or collection?

Contact us and we will advise if your item or collection is suitable for inclusion in one of our auction sales.

How much will it cost to sell my item or collection?

For single items of modest value, the selling commission rate is 18% inclusive of VAT of the hammer price.  For high value single items, significant collections or regular consignors, lower rates may apply; please contact us for further information. For items where a seller requires a reserve, an unsold fee of 6% inclusive of VAT is usually payable.

When will I get payment?

Payment is usually made within 30 days of the date of the sale, subject to cleared funds having been received from the buyer.

Are there any other costs?

There can be additional selling related costs, for such matters as collection of goods, storage, insurance or specialist services.  Such matters would be discussed and a quotation provided at the time of entering any item for sale.

What happens if I live outside the UK?

Sellers who live abroad must check their local laws and regulations regarding the export of items for sale in the UK and documentation to prove legal export will be required.  In addition, UK Import VAT may be payable at the time of importation into the UK (at 5% of the assessed value) and is payable by the seller.  Please contact us before sending any items.


How do I bid on something?

You may attend any printed catalogue sale in person and bid yourself.  Bidding is simple and straightforward and there is no fear that you might inadvertently be bidding if you scratch your nose!  If you cannot attend the sale, then bids can be entered on your behalf through our Absentee Commission Bidding service.  This is a fully confidential and free service where we make bids on your behalf up to your specified limit.  We will always make bids at the lowest level possible.   Telephone bidding facilities may be available for higher value iots but this service must be booked well in advance.  For both eAuctions and printed catalogue sales, you may also bid through the internet by using the-saleroom.com or liveauctioneers.com websites and this service does incur additional costs to the buyer.

How does internet bidding work?

If you wish to bid live simply log onto your account on our site and click the red 'Live Bidding' link at the top right of our home page. Having done so, you will be able to see each lot being offered, and watch the progress of the bidding. Bids may be received by simply clicking on the bid button live during the sale, through absentee bids left with us in advance, from telephone bidders or otherwise. At each stage you will have the opportunity to enter a bid through your computer.

How much will I pay?

The amount you will pay for any lot will be the hammer price plus the Buyer's Premium, together with any other charges that may be applicable. 

Are there any other costs?

Additional buyer costs may be payable.  These can include packing, shipping and insurance. Buyers are welcome to collect items in person or to make their own arrangements. Generally, packing and shipping services are provided by Mail Boxes Etc (Enfield) and full details are given on invoices. Storage costs and interest may be charged for late payment or collection.

How do I pay?

Payment may be made in cash (in pounds sterling up to a limit of £7,000 in any one sale), by pounds sterling cheque drawn on a UK bank (subject to clearance), by bank debit card, by credit card (with limit of up to £500) or by direct bank transfer (with £10 payable in addition to pay the receiving bank charges).  TimeLine Auctions Ltd does NOT accept Paypal (or similar systems) or charge cards (American Express, Diners Club, etc). Cheques/orders drawn on foreign banks or other currencies are NOT accepted.

What happens if I don't pay?

Payment is required within 3 days of the date of invoice.  Buyers who do not pay promptly may incur interest and storage charges and may be barred from participating in future sales.  A winning bid at auction is a binding contract.  Sellers may take legal action to recover unpaid monies.

Should I rely only on the catalogue and description?

All potential buyers should personally inspect any lots which they might be interested in.  It is always the bidder's responsibility to satisfy themselves fully about everything.  Viewing of lots can be done at the sale venue on the day(s) or evening before the sale and on the day of the sale.  Arrangements can be made for viewing at other times before the sale, subject to appointment. Many of the items offered will be of ancient date and will inherently have minor defects and restorations that might not be mentioned in the descriptions.

When and how do I get my item?

For bidders who are unable to attend the sale, or for eAuctions, we will send you an invoice which will include an estimate for shipping your purchase to you. Your purchase will be shipped as soon as is possible after your payment has been received and cleared. Your contract for packing and shipping is with Mail Boxes Etc (Romford); or buyers may make their own arrangements. Overseas bidders should note that a UK Export Licence may be required which will delay shipping date. Buyers must make their own arrangements for all-risk insurance cover for their goods from the time the hammer falls. If you prefer to collect your purchase in person after the sale, this can be done by appointment, again after your payment has been received and cleared.

Who is responsible for my item after the sale?

The buyer becomes the owner of any lot from the moment the hammer falls.  Buyers must make arrangements to fully insure their lots from that moment for all risks, including while in transit.

What happens if I live outside the UK?

Bidders living abroad may visit to attend the sale or make use of our confidential Absentee Commission Bidding service or may bid through the internet.  Matters that will need to be taken into account will include shipping costs and the possible need for a UK Export Licence to remove an item from the UK, together with any duties, restrictions, laws or regulations regarding import to the buyer's home country. Buyers from the USA especially should note that restrictions apply to various categories of antiquities and coins and should check before bidding. The most favoured method of payment is by direct bank transfer (details of the receiving account are given on all TimeLine Auctions invoices).  Cheques/orders drawn on foreign banks are not accepted and Paypal is not available.  If payment is made by debit/credit card, then goods may ONLY be sent to the person and address registered to that card.