Buying at Auction

Buying at Bamfords Auctioneers couldn’t be simpler, for further details see our FAQ’s below or contact either of our salerooms.

Before the auction

How to view the catalogue?

To view a catalogue prior to an auction, visit our Auction Calendar and select the auction you wish to view.

All our catalogues on our website give you the opportunity to create a watch list, request a condition report and place a commission bid.

Printed catalogues for our weekly Period & Contemporary Auctions (alternating between Derby & Rowsley) will be available to purchase on the day of the auction, catalogues for Specialist Auctions will be available to purchase prior to the auction. If you wish to receive information on future auctions, please join our mailing list.

When can I view the lots in person?

To view our weekly auctions which are held on a Wednesday, visit the saleroom at

Derby from 9:00am to 6:00pm the previous day and from 9:00am to 10:00am on the morning of the auction
Rowsley from 1:00pm to 7:00pm the previous day and from 9:00am to 10:30am on the morning of the auction.

Viewing days and times for specialist auctions are published on our Current Auctions page.

What is the buyer’s commission?

All UK auctioneers charge a commission in addition to the hammer price.

If your bid is successful you can pay in person by debit card or cash, if you are not paying in person you may pay by debit card over the telephone or by bank transfer. Bamfords charge 21% Buyers' Premium plus VAT on the hammer price of each lot in a general auction and 21% plus VAT for Collectors, Fine Art and Specialist auctions.

Live online bidding is available for all our auctions via  The charge for using this service is 5.5% of the hammer price (plus VAT where chargeable).  This will be added to the total invoice.

What is a condition report?

A condition report is simply asking an expert for their opinion on the condition, age and authenticity of the item. Many objects may have restoration/damage that is hard to detect, which will affect the objects value

It is a free service, and will help you decide how much you really love the lot.

How do I request a report on condition of a lot?

You can request a written or verbal condition report via the online catalogue, or by contacting us by email or telephone.

At the auction

How can bid for a lot?

There are various ways of bidding for a lot these include:

  • In person at one of our salerooms
  • Bid by telephone – this needs to be booked prior to the auction
  • Leave a commission or ‘absentee’ bid
  • Bid live through

In each case you will need to register before you can bid.

Do I need to register before I bid?

Yes, you will need to register prior to the auction the following explains how:

In each case you will be required to provide your name, address and telephone number.

You will be then be issued a bidding number which will identify you when you bid.

The will also need you to open an account (which is free), provide a payment method and register with the auction house through their website.

How can I bid if I can’t attend the auction?

You are able to still bid for lots by leaving an absentee bid, also known as a commission bid, which is your maximum you wish to spend excluding Buyer’s Premium.

You are able to do this via our online catalogues, if you attend a viewing you can fill out a Commission Bid form available at our salerooms.

Finally, give you the option to leave an Autobid which is subject to a surcharge.

If I leave a commission or absentee bid will you automatically bid my maximum amount?

No, Bamfords auctioneers will bid on your behalf for the lowest possible amount, subject to other competing bids, and will continue to your maximum bid. Bamfords do not open bidding at your maximum bid and operate a strict rule with all our auctioneers that we do not ‘run you up’ artificially.

Am I able to bid by telephone?

You can arrange to bid by telephone by contacting either of our salerooms prior to an auction subject to the lot estimate is over £300.

We will then call you 2-3 lots prior to the lot you are interested in bidding on.

How can I bid live online?

You can bid online via

  • if you already have an account on, we will link your account and associated data;
  • if you do not have an account you will need to set up an account with and then connect to one of our auctions and register
  • you do not have to register twice to bid live with us

Is it possible to buy a lot by mistake?

Our auctioneers are highly experienced and will be monitoring the room as well as the online bidders through their screen on the rostrum. If the auctioneer is unsure you made a bid, they will ask you. If you didn’t mean to bid or was waving to someone – speak up and let the auctioneer know before the gavel goes down!

After the auction

If I’m successful when do I have to pay?

You can pay on the day of the auction and collect your goods and we allow up to seven days for payment and collection.

What are acceptable payment methods?

You can pay with cash (up to £5,000), debit cards or direct bank transfer, we do not accept personal cheques.  or payment by credit card. 

Payments can also be collected via

Can collect my purchase on the same day as the auction?

Yes, you can collect your purchase on the same day as the auction. We prefer buyers to arrange collection within seven days of the auction, as storage space is very limited at our salerooms lots not collected will attract a daily storage fee of £5.

Do you offer a shipping service?

If you can't collect your items on the day of the auction, don't worry, we are happy to keep them for you until the end of the week. Bamfords can offer postage on items of a small and non-fragile nature, our minimum charge is £19.50 for Royal Mail Special Delivery service. Please be aware that we cannot offer postage of jewellery, weapons, ceramics or paintings & pictures and we do not offer postage internationally. We can recommend our local Mailboxes for packing and posting services on items we cannot to send.

If I’m bidding from outside the UK can I have a VAT refund?

You can obtain a refund of VAT if you buy an object which is shipped to a country outside the European Union.  You will need proof of export from your courier and then complete a VAT refund form obtainable from the HMRC website.