How to buy

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

How to place a bid

Attending the auction
If you attend in person, you will be given your bidding paddle at If you attend in person, you will be given your bidding paddle at registration. When you want to bid on an item, raise the paddle so that the auctioneer can see you. If you are successful, the auctioneer will make a note of your paddle number and you can then pay for the item at the Cashier's Office. If you are bidding on more than one lot, you can pay for everything you have bought at the end of the auction.

Live online bidding
If you have registered for online bidding, you will be able to log in with the details you have been given on the day of the auction. You will then be able to follow the auction live and make your bids.

Telephone bidding
On the day of the auction, we will telephone you about five lots before your lot is announced. Once bidding begins, we will talk you through as the bids progress and ask you at each stage if you wish to bid. This will carry on until you are successful, or tell us that you want to stop bidding.

Absentee bids

Online
register to bid in the normal way (see Register to Bid), then, using the online catalog, select the lot you would like to bid on and click on the 'bid/track' link. Enter the username and password you will have been given in your confirmation email and leave a bid. You will be notified by email if you are successful.

Other
auction. All you need to do is complete a bidding form specifying the lot(s) on which you wish to leave an absentee bid. This gives us written permission to act as your representative to try and secure the lot(s) at the lowest possible price, subject to any reserve and interest from other bidders. The bidding form can be found online or at the back of the relevant sale catalog. You can also obtain one at a Bonhams saleroom. You should give us the maximum Hammer Price you are prepared to pay, (remembering to take into account the Buyer's Premium and any taxes payable on top of the Hammer Price). We will need to see proof of identity and residence.

Contacts
Contact a specialist
Click here to view a list of our specialist departments