Skip to main content

How to buy / How to bid (online auction)

How to bid (online auction)

Our step-by-step guide on what to expect when you bid in an online-only auction. Bidding for the first time with Bonhams? You need to create an account and get approved before you can participate in an auction.

Login and register

1. Login to your account at the top of the Bonhams website, or via the Bonhams app

caption here

2. Register for the auction you want to bid in

You can place a bid any time after the online-only auction has begun, indicated by the countdown clock on each lot.

Bidding in an online auction

3. Find the lot (item) you want to bid on

On the lot page, choose the maximum price you'd like to bid from the dropdown menu, then click 'Place Bid'. This will instruct the Bonhams website to place bids on your behalf, until your maximum bid is reached or until you win the lot at a lower price. Otherwise, press cancel.

Please note: If you haven't registered, you will not see the 'Place max bid' dropdown menu. You'll be directed to the Bidder Registration page when you try to place your bid.

4. Re-confirm your bid by clicking 'Confirm Bid'

5. You have now placed your bid on the lot

You will receive an email confirming your bid, and the lot page will display 'Winning'.

Changed your mind? You can increase your max bid right up until the lot closes, but you can't decrease your max bid in an online-only auction.

6. The Bonhams website will place bids on your behalf until your maximum bid price is reached, or you win the lot at a lower price

If you are outbid, you will receive an email or push notification on the Bonhams app letting you know, with the option to increase your max bid. The lot page will display that you have been 'outbid'.

7. Our online-only auctions have a rolling close: each lot is set to close one minute after the previous lot

Check the countdown clock connected to each individual lot to see its specific closing time.

8. If anyone bids in the last five minutes of an online auction-only, the sale will be automatically extended by five minutes to allow other bidders to participate

This process repeats until all bidding is complete.

What happens when I lose?

The page will confirm you have lost and the winning bid price. The price including premium will also appear within a few minutes of the lot closing. You do not need to take any further action.

What happens when I win?

The lot page will confirm you have won the lot and your winning bid price. The price including premium will also appear within a few minutes of the lot closing.

You'll receive a confirmation via email after the close of the entire auction, as well as an invoice within one hour of the final lot closing containing next steps for after a Bonhams auction.

If you'd like assistance on bidding, please contact your local Bonhams Client Services

Related guides

How to bid in a live auction

How to bid by telephone