How to buy

A simple step by step guide on how to buy at auction with Bonhams

Using Bonhams Online Bidding

Using the screen

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A - Logged in status Log in at prompt here. Only registered and logged in customers can bid live.

B - Auction name, location and status The auction name, location and status will display here. Bids can only be placed in auctions marked as "in progress".

C - Auction Server An indication of whether there is a connection to Bonhams live bidding server, will display here. The server status should say 'Connected.' If it doesn't, refresh the screen and check your internet connection. Bids can only be placed if the server is connected and the auction is shown to be in progress.

D - Alternate currency Select alternate currency to view estimates in another currency. Please note that bids can only be placed in the auction currency.

E - Jump to lot/Current lot Use to move between lots.

F - Current bid The current bid appraise accepted by the auctioneer. If you are currently the highest bidder, this area will be green and state that the bid is 'With you'. This area also indicates when the item has been sold, including if you are the successful bidder.

G - Lot scroller Shows current, previous and next lot. Previously sold lots will show the sold status and whether you were the winning bidder. Any lots with an amendment will have an orange 'Amendment' notice. Any lots which you have already bid on (absentee or telephone) will have a green 'Bid' notice.

H - Your next bid The next bid and last submitted bid will be displayed. Click Bid to place a bid. This feature is only active when the auctioneer opens the bidding. If this area is gray, bidding has not yet started or you cannot place a new bid. If you have placed absentee bids or left a telephone bid, this area will remain inactive until the auctioneer has accepted a bid above your bid.

I - Bid Click to place a bid. The last amount submitted will display to the left (see e above). Once a bid has been submitted, it cannot be canceled or re-called.

J - Saleroom notices Any special notices about the lot are displayed below the image.

K - Terms & Conditions Click to read Terms and Conditions for bidding online. These terms and conditions are in addition to the normal terms and conditions for bidding in an auction.

Frequently asked questions

Technical & Support

What web browsers are supported?

Bonhams live bidding runs on most recent web browsers. It is recommended that one of the following is used:
Internet Explorer (7 or higher)
Safari (5, or higher)
Firefox (3.5, or higher)
Chrome (8, or higher)

We are aware that it has been run on many other browsers on many different platforms but these have not been thoroughly tested and the users use these browsers unsupported.

In IE I have a runtime error, what can I do?

The "runtime error" in Internet Explorer is most commonly caused by browser toolbars, or by anti-virus programs that scan links in the web browser. Disabling these add-ons in Internet Explorer may help with this. For more information, see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/822521 but please note that any modifications to browser settings and security are your sole responsibility.

Can I live bid from my mobile device?

Bonhams live bidding system can be used from some mobile devices such as Android smart phones, iPhones and iPads provided there is an adequate network or wi-fi connection. Support for other mobile devices will be added in the future.

What are the technical requirements for my computer to run Bonhams live bidding?

To run Bonhams live bidding you must have at least a broadband internet connection and use one of the supported web browsers (Firefox, IE, Safari, etc). A dial-up or GPRS connection is unlikely to provide a satisfactory experience.

Why is there a time delay between the information on the screen and the sound?

Bonhams broadcast sound digitally over the internet. Since the sound must be digitally encoded before transmission, then decoded on arrival, there is a delay before you can hear it. There is a delay in the sound arriving at your computer of around 1.5 seconds but different browsers add different amounts of delay during the decoding. It is normal to experience around a 5 second delay in the sound. The transmission of bid and price data is much faster than the sound, therefore Bonhams recommend that you bid according to the information on the screen and not on what the auctioneer is saying.

Who can I contact to help me live bid or if I encounter problems?

If you have any problems or require any assistance using Bonhams live bidding please call Customer Services.

Your Account

Must I have an account to live bid?

Yes. To be able to bid by any method at Bonhams you need to have an account. To create an account you must provide us with your full name, address and ID to support this. You may also be asked to provide a payment card or bank reference.

Who else can access my account?

Only you can access your account online, so it is important you keep your Bonhams user name and password secure and do not share it with anyone, as you will be responsible for all online activity on your account. Your online account is linked to Bonhams internal database so your account can be managed by appropriate Bonhams staff.

Will my account details be given to a third party?

No. Bonhams do not share your details with anyone without your express permission. For additional information please see our privacy policy.

Will you email or mail me as a result of my bidding activity?

We will communicate with you by email or mail with regard to your transactions online. You may also receive mailings about Bonhams auctions and events that we think might be of interest you based on your interests and the auctions you register for. You can stop these mailings at any time by adjusting the mailing settings on your online account.

Is my account and bidding activity secure?

Data held on your account on Bonhams systems is secure and information transmitted for live bidding contains no personally identifiable information (your name, account number, paddle number, etc).

Registration & Bidding

How soon before the start of the auction must I register?

New customer's must register at least 24 hours before the start of the auction. Existing customers can normally register and bid at any time up to the start of and during the auction. However we would always recommend that you register at least 24 hours before the start of the auction whether you are a new customer or not.

Must I register for each auction?

Yes but you do not need to create a new account each time. You will be allocated a unique paddle number for each auction when you register using your account. The first time you register with Bonhams you will be asked to provide ID with your name and proof of address. For your security you may be asked to provide ID at other times, usually every 12 months.

How do I bid?

Once you have logged in and registered, follow the 'Bid Live Now' link to the live bidding page. You will be asked to log in again to verify your details before you can start bidding. A guide to using the live bidding screen is available above.

How do I know my bid has been accepted?

The 'Current Bid' will display as green and state the bid is 'with you'. Please note that the auctioneer accepts the first bid to come in, so the bid you place may not be accepted even if it is the winning bid amount.

How will I know what the next bidding increment will be?

Bonhams usually operates in fixed increments which are as outlined below. However, increments are at the auctioneers discretion and may vary. The next bid being sought by the auctioneer will display next to the 'Bid' button.

Bonhams standard bidding increments are as follows:

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How do I know that I have bought the lot?

If you place the last bid accepted by the auctioneer, the 'Current Bid' will display as green and state the bid is 'with you' and then change to 'sold to you for (the amount you bid)'. If you have bid but the lot was sold elsewhere a message will appear on screen 'your bid unsuccessful.'

Can I cancel my bid?

No, once your bid has been submitted, it may be accepted by the auctioneer. As set out in the terms and conditions for live bidding with Bonhams any bid you submit is final and binding.

I bid the winning amount, but the lot was not sold to me?

In the event of a tie in bids submitted, the auctioneer will accept bids in the order they come in. Absentee bids (those submitted before the start of the auction) will usually take precedence. In the event of a tie between a salesroom bidder or telephone bidder and an internet bidder, the winning bid will be at the auctioneers discretion. In the event of a tie between internet bidders, the winning bidder will be the first bid submitted.

What are the terms and conditions for bidding live?

Bonhams terms and conditions for bidding live can be found by clicking here. Bidders are also bound to the normal terms and conditions for each auction. Please note terms and conditions may vary and you should always check the terms and conditions in the printed catalogue.

Can I watch the auction without bidding?

Yes, any customer may watch the auction by following the link 'Watch Live Now'. Remember, in order to bid you must register; if you are a new customer to Bonhams or have not had your account authorized, this must be 24 hours before the auction.

I have previously registered to attend the auction in person, can I still live bid?

Yes. If you have registered to bid in the salesroom and have met all Bonhams requirements for bidding, you will automatically be registered to bid live.

I have left an absentee bid, can I still live bid?

Yes. If you have left an absentee bid and have met all Bonhams requirements for bidding, you will automatically be registered to bid live. If you have left an absentee bid and you are using the account on which the absentee bid was placed, you will not be able to bid on the lot until a bid higher than your absentee bid has been accepted by the auctioneer. Please note, however, while every precaution has been put in place to prevent you from bidding against yourself it is your responsibility to ensure that you do not bid against yourself on a lot.

I have left a telephone bid, can I still live bid?

Yes. If you have left a telephone bid and have met all Bonhams requirements for bidding, you will automatically be registered to bid live. If you have left a covering bid and you are using the account on which the telephone bid was placed, you will not be able to bid on the lot until a bid higher than your covering bid has been accepted by the auctioneer. Please note, however, while every precaution has been put in place to prevent you from bidding against yourself it is your responsibility to ensure that you do not bid against yourself on a lot.

Is it possible that I may end up bidding against myself?

Every precaution has been taken to ensure that you do not bid against yourself if you have left an absentee bid or have left a covering bid on a telephone bid. However it is your sole responsibility to ensure that you do not bid against yourself.

I am the successful buyer, what happens now?

You will be sent an invoice by mail or email, usually within 24 hours of the auction. However, if you would like to pay for your purchase immediately you can do so by calling Customer Services.

Contacts
  1. Customer Services (UK)
    General Enquiries
    Bonhams
    Work
    Work +44 20 7447 7447
    FaxFax: +44 20 7447 7401
  2. Customer Services & Bids (New York)
    General Enquiries
    Bonhams
    Work
    Work +1 212 644 9001
    FaxFax: +1 212 644 9009
  3. Customer Services & Bids (San Francisco)
    General Enquiries
    Bonhams
    Work
    Work +1 415 861 7500
    FaxFax: +1 415 861 8951
  4. Customer Services & Bids (Los Angeles)
    General Enquiries
    Bonhams
    Work
    Work +1 323 850 7500
    FaxFax: +1 323 850 6090
  5. Customer Services (Hong Kong)
    General Enquiries
    Bonhams
    Work
    Work +852 2918 4321
    FaxFax: +852 2918 4320
  6. Customer Services (Australia)
    General Enquiries
    Bonhams
    Work
    Work +61 2 8412 2222
    FaxFax: +61 2 9475 4110
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