Watch and learn how easy it is to consign with Sotheby's:

Selling Basics

Sotheby’s can guide you through the entire auction process. Once we have determined that your property is appropriate for sale at auction, our specialists will orchestrate every detail, from establishing estimates to cataloguing your property and marketing it to prospective buyers worldwide. Sotheby's has a proven track record in achieving prices that meet or exceed pre-sale estimates.  

View glossary of terms to familiarise yourself with the language of auctions.

How do I find out what my property is worth?

With years of experience and detailed knowledge of current market trends, our specialists have the authority to give accurate valuations. Please visit our Auction Estimate Platform to send us information and photographs of your property. You will be asked to register or log-in to your account to begin your auction estimate request.

In some cases, we will contact you to arrange an appointment to gather further details. You may also make an appointment to bring your property to the Sotheby’s office nearest you. If your property is not appropriate for a Sotheby’s auction, we will recommend an alternative place for sale.

How do I arrange shipping?

Sotheby’s can help you arrange to have your property delivered to the Sotheby's location where it will be offered. For assistance, please contact the selling location or your nearest Sotheby’s office. As the consignor, you are responsible for packing, shipping and insurance charges. 

What does my contract with Sotheby's cover?

The seller’s contract sets the reserve price and the seller’s commission.

When can I expect payment?

For sold lots, we will send payment within 35 days from the day of the sale, provided we are in receipt of the buyer’s payment. Your payment will be based on the hammer price less a commission and any agreed-upon expenses. 

What happens if my lot doesn’t sell?

If bidding on your item fails to reach the reserve price, we will not sell the piece at auction. Some consignors choose to take back their work(s), while others decide to offer it in a later auction or through our private sales department. We will contact you to discuss the best course of action.  Charges that were agreed pre-sale will be invoiced immediately after the sale (for example, shipping and handling costs) and in the event that a lot does not sell, the reserve price is used to determine certain fees. 

How does Sotheby’s determine the auction that will include my property? 

We consider both the type of work you are selling and the tastes of collectors around the world. With hundreds of sales every year, we are able to recommend the best auction to achieve the highest price for your property. We will explain the advantages of selecting one location over another and the most suitable time to sell your property.