This guide outlines the process of selling through Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood.


The first step to selling through Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood is to obtain a valuation from one of our specialists. All of our auction valuations are free and can be obtained via one of the following methods:-

  • Request an online valuation
  • You can post or email us a description and photographs of your property. You can make direct contact with the specialist required by browsing our departments.
  • You can bring your item to us in Exeter for a valuation. Although we can provide rough estimates as to value by post or email, there is no substitute to seeing the real thing. Our valuations will be more accurate if we can see and handle the item in question. There is always a 'duty valuer' available. If the item requires specialist advice, you can leave the item and collect it later. We will issue you with a receipt for the item.
  • We hold a large number of valuation days in the West Country, which you can bring your property along to for free valuations. We hold a valuation day somewhere in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset or Dorset almost every week of the year.
  • If you have an item that cannot be brought into our offices or you have a large number of items, we can visit you by appointment.

Once we have discussed your requirements and inspected your property, we will give you an estimate of its value at auction. We will also advise you of the most appropriate sale for your item (or items).

We have an extensive range of auctions, including four Quarterly Seasonal Fine Sales, four silver and jewellery sales, two 20th Century and Contemporary Sales, two Antiquarian Book Sales, three Sporting and Collectors Sales and one Maritime Sale.

You will need to deliver your items to us in advance of the sale. We can arrange carriage at your expense if you wish.

You will receive a receipt for the goods you have consigned to us for sale.

Sale Terms and Reserve Sale Prices

The specialist handling your sale will discuss the terms of sale with you and agree any reserve sale prices (ie: the minimum value that you are prepared to sell the items for). These will be noted on a form, which you will be required to sign to confirm your instructions to us.

The usual instructions per item are:-

  • No Reserve - We will sell your item for the highest bid received, with no minimum price specified.
  • Discretion - The item will be sold at a price at the discretion of the auctioneer. This typically means your are prepared to sell for 10% below an agreed value if this will result in a sale on the day.
  • Reserve - Your item will be sold at or in excess of the agreed reserve; or it will not be sold.

Your instructions to us are treated in complete confidence. We will only discuss your sale instructions with you.


The vendor’s commission for selling at auction is 18% up to the first £1000, then 15% over £1001 per lot, plus 1.5% loss and damage warranty and VAT on these charges. There is also an online catalogue illustration charge, which the valuer will discuss with you at the time of consignment.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

You will be liable for VAT at the current rate on all commissions and charges.

Additional Charges

Please note that you will only incur additional charges subject to prior agreement. These additional charges maybe for restoration, shipping, storage, customs duties and import tax, amongst other expenses.

Receiving Payment

If your goods were sold at one of our major sales, you will receive a sale notification a few days after the auction. This notification will list the items sold and the price realised for each item.

If you would like to know the result before you receive your sale notification, you can call us on (01392) 413100, email us or check the online results for the relevant sale. (We post the results to all of our sales online very shortly after the completion of the sale.)

You will receive your cheque drawn in sterling approximately 28 days after the sale (provided we have received full payment from the buyer) or BACs payment if you have given us your bank details.

You will receive a settlement statement detailing the charges incurred. We usually deduct these charges from your payment.

Unsold Items

If your item was not sold, you may decide to re-offer the lot in a future sale. You should seek the advice of the specialist advising you as to how to proceed.

Important Note

You should check out the small print of our Conditions of Sale and Information for Sellers.

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