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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. At this point, buyer and seller immediately enter into a legally enforceable contract, 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 their 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, once 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 30% 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 auctions taking place in London. The opportunity to view lots may also be possible on other dates, subject to appointment or announcement.

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 required 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. These matters are discussed before items are entered in for a 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.

For more information, visit our ‘How to Sell’ page


How do I bid on something?
See our guide on bidding for full details. Bidding can be conducted in person, via telephone or online, whether live or via an ‘Auto bid’. See our ‘How to Buy’ guide for further details.

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 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 (Romford) and full details are given on invoices. Storage costs and interest may be charged for late payment or collection.

How do I pay?
Payment must be made in Pounds Sterling and can be made by bank transfer (for transfers from outside the UK, subject to payment of an additional £10 bank transaction fee), by cash up to the value of £7,000, by cheque from a UK bank (subject to clearance) or by debit card or credit card (up to a maximum of £500. Please note, TimeLine Auctions Ltd does not accept Paypal (or similar systems), charge cards (American Express, Diners Club, etc.) or cheques/orders drawn on foreign banks or in other currencies.

What happens if I don't pay?
Payment is required within 3 days of the issue of the payment request note. 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 in which they might be interested. Viewing of lots can take place at the sale venue on the day 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 once your payment has been received and cleared. Overseas bidders should note that a UK Export Licence may be required which will delay shipping date. If you prefer to collect your purchase in person after the sale, this can be done by appointment, once 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 their own arrangements for all-risk insurance cover for their goods from that moment, including while in transit.

What happens if I live outside the UK?
Bidders living abroad may visit to attend the sale, make use of our confidential Absentee Commission Bidding service (Auto Bid) or may bid live online. Potential oversees buyers should take into account shipping costs, the possible need for an UK Export Licence, and 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.

For more information, visit our ‘How to Buy’ page