Buying at Auction
Each year we hold a variety of auctions including Fine Art, Silver & Jewellery, Antiquarian Books, Sporting & Collectors, 20th Century & Contemporary art, and Maritime items. In addition, we also hold Timed Online Auctions throughout the year. Click here to view our sales calendar. You can stay updated by subscribing to our newsletters. Users registered with BHL Live, can sign up to receive reminders of upcoming sales.
Our sales catalogues are always available online prior to the sale. Hard copies are available from our Exeter saleroom for a fee. You can subscribe to our newsletter to receive catalogue alerts.
Auctions can be viewed at our Exeter Saleroom, normally for a few days prior to the sale date. Viewing times and dates will be found in the relevant catalogues / auction pages. This does not apply to ‘Timed Online Auctions’, or ‘Online Only’ auctions, which take place solely online.
The conditions of sale oblige the buyer to pay a buyer’s premium at 25% + VAT (which totals 30% including VAT) in addition to the final hammer price.
You can request a condition report by contacting the saleroom on (01392) 413100 or via email. If you are a registered website user, you can also login and conveniently use the 'ask a question' link on each lot page to request a condition report.
If you want to bid for one or more items, you must register with Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood in advance (if you have not done so previously). We will need your:
- name and address
- two forms of ID (one being a photographic ID such as passport or driving licence, the other being a utility bill).
Remember that registration can take a few days to complete if you are not registering in person.
You can bid at our auctions in a number of different ways:
Live Internet Bidding
All our auctions have Live Internet Bidding systems.
You can register to bid directly through our website, using our BHL Live platform, which is free of charge.
You can also bid on the-saleroom.com or Easylive, please note that these can occur additional fees (details of these fees are on the individual websites). You will need to register to use these services, as directed on their websites.
Attending the Sale
We use a paddle system like many other auctioneers. If you will be attending the auction in person, you will be issued with a paddle with your unique number printed on it at reception.
Bidding by Telephone
It is usually possible to bid on the telephone by prior arrangement with us. You must register and reserve your telephone bid before the sale starts. Telephone Bids are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and may be subject to a minimum estimate value for the lot in question.
Commission (or Absentee) Bid
You can contact us to leave a Commission Bid, specifying which lots you wish to bid for and stipulate the maximum value you are prepared to pay per lot on the form. This means that we can act on your written permission to secure an item for you as your representative for the lowest possible price. If you are a registered website user and have already completed the proof of identity and residence requirements, you can simply place commission bids for each lot by using the links on the lot page.
Timed Online Auctions
We hold regular Timed Online Auctions. These take place online only for a defined period of time. When the sales ends, the bidder who has submitted the highest online bid wins the lot, provided the bid exceeds the reserve price. Click here for more info.
You can check the hammer prices for any lot by checking the online catalogue for the sale. We publish the results very shortly after the completion of each sale. If you are a registered web user, you can also elect to receive sale results by email.
The price you pay is the amount at which the auctioneer's hammer falls (the hammer price), plus a buyer's premium (a percentage of the final hammer price) and VAT where applicable.
If you were present at the auction, you can proceed to the Cashier's Office to settle your account before collecting your purchases. You will be able to take your items with you if you pay in cash, or by credit or debit card. If you pay by cheque, you will not be able to pick up your items until the payment has cleared. We also accept various forms of electronic fund transfers.
In any event, you should settle your outstanding account within three working days. You will not be able to take any items purchased until payment has been cleared.
You will be issued with an invoice made out to the name and address on your Registration Form.
All payments must be made in sterling.
The following methods of payment are available:-
Cheques and drafts should be made payable to Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood Ltd.
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.
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.
Please collect your lot promptly after the sale. If you are unable to take your purchases with you, please arrange storage and shipping for your items.
Please note, Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood do not offer postage or packing services. However, here are some useful numbers of companies in our area:
Mailboxes email@example.com 01752 257224
Auction Postal Service firstname.lastname@example.org 07736 544362
Postit4me email@example.com 01258 920180
Martin Brother firstname.lastname@example.org 01985 844144
Alban Shipping email@example.com 01582 493099