How to Bid

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There are four different ways to bid in this sale: by telephone, online, in the room, and in advance of the auction. You can register for telephone, online, or in room bidding via the Register to Bid link on the auction overview page. ‘Advance bids’ can be placed online ahead of the sale, where you have the option to set your maximum bid on a lot. Please see below for how bidding works:

Advance Bidding

1. To place an ‘advance bid’ ahead of the live auction, find your desired lot and select ‘Place Bid.’

2. Set your bid amount. You can either place a bid at the next increment or select a maximum bid. Your maximum bid will be executed on your behalf in response to any other bids placed on the lot. If your maximum bid is below the reserve, responsive bids will be placed by Sotheby’s on behalf of the seller up to the amount of the reserve.

3. Once you have chosen your bid amount, select ‘Continue to Confirm Bid.’ You will then be asked to either log in or sign up for a Sotheby’s account.

4. Select the Sotheby’s Account Number you wish to bid under, accept our Conditions of Sale, and confirm your bid. You will be asked to do this only once, upon placing your first bid in the sale.

5. You will receive a confirmation of your bid on screen and via email. If outbid during this portion of the sale (before the live auction begins), you will receive notification on screen, via email, and Sotheby’s mobile app push notifications (if enabled in your settings).

6. The ‘advance bidding’ portion of the sale will culminate in a live auction on the advertised date.

Live Auction

At the stated date and time, a live auction will begin when the auctioneer opens each lot for bidding at the current bid established based on the ‘advance bidding’ that preceded it. Clients are able to participate by bidding in the saleroom, by telephone, or online via or the Sotheby's app for iOS. Bids will be accepted in the order they are received and the highest bid placed in the live auction will win each lot. When competitive bidding subsides, the auctioneer can send a ‘fair warning’ message to indicate that the lot will close imminently. Please note that placing the leading maximum bid before the live auction begins does not guarantee that another user will not outbid you before the auctioneer closes the lot. Please note that some Live auctions are ticketed and bidders intending to bid in the room should check the sale page at for further information.

Auction Glossary

Maximum Bid

Your maximum bid is the highest amount you would like to bid on a lot. The bidding platform will automatically place incremental bids on your behalf against any competition up to the maximum bid you have placed. The bidding platform will execute bids beginning at the lowest increment. You can find the Bidding Increment Table on the Place Bid screen of any lot. If your maximum bid is outbid, you will be alerted via email and a push notification from the Sotheby’s app (if enabled) for a chance to increase your bid. For clients who are familiar with our traditional auctions, a maximum bid functions similarly to an absentee bid. Though you can always return to the sale and increase your bid, we encourage you to take advantage of the maximum bid feature in the event you are unable to return to your desired lot when the live sale begins. Please note that if two clients enter the same maximum bid, the bid which was entered first will have priority.

Starting Bids

A starting bid is set against each lot, which is the lowest possible bid you can place on a lot. You may bid at or above the starting bid (see above for how to place a Maximum Bid). Please note that leaving a bid at the starting bid may not necessarily mean you have met the reserve, though you will be notified if you are the leading bidder or have been outbid. Please note that Sotheby’s reserves the right to lower the starting bid prior to the start of the live auction.

Quick Bid

After placing an initial bid on your desired lot, you will be presented with the option to place a ‘Quick Bid’. This is a faster way to increase your bid to the next increment. This can be executed on the Sotheby’s app by holding down and swiping the ‘Quick Bid’ button all the way to the right of the screen, or by clicking the ‘Quick Bid’ button and confirming your bid increase on Upon completion, your bid will be placed. ‘Quick Bid’ is only available during the ‘advance bidding’ portion of a live auction.

My Active Bids

Once you have left a bid in an auction, you can view that bid and any other active bids near the top of the auction page, in a dynamic section called ‘My Active Bids’. This shows the status of all your active bids in the auction and is color coded based on the state of your bid. In addition to scrolling through the e-catalogue, you can easily navigate to your active lots by clicking into ‘My Active Bids.’ You can view your active, won, and lost bids on the Sotheby’s app by navigating to the ‘More’ tab and opening the ‘My Bids’ section.

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