Terms and Conditions
INFORMATION FOR BUYERS
- Introduction. The following informative notes are intended to assist Buyers of Thomas Watson Auctioneers, particularly those inexperienced or new to our saleroom or online only bidding platform. All sales are conducted according to our printed Conditions of Sale which are readily available for inspection in person, on our website and normally accompany catalogues. Our staff will be happy to help you if there is anything you do not fully understand.
- Agency. As auctioneers we usually contract as agents for the seller whose identity, for reasons of confidentiality, is not normally disclosed. Accordingly if you buy your primary contract is with the seller.
- Estimates. Estimates are designed to help buyers gauge what sort of sum might be involved for the purchase of a particular lot. The lower estimate may represent the reserve price or may be above the reserve price. Estimates do not include the Buyer’s Premium of 25%. Estimates are prepared some time before the sale and may be altered by announcement before the sale. They are in no sense definitive.
- Buyer’s Premium. The Conditions of Sale oblige buyers to pay a buyer’s premium of 25% on the hammer price of each lot purchased.
- VAT. The addition of (*) of (VAT applied on hammer price) to the lot description indicates that VAT is payable by the purchaser at the standard rate, presently 20%, on the hammer price as well as being payable on the buyer’s premium. This imposition of VAT is likely to be because the seller is registered for VAT within the European Union and is not operating the Dealers Margin Scheme or because VAT is due at 20% on importation into the UK. Lots which appear without either of the above symbols indicated that no VAT is payable on the hammer price. This is because such lots are sold using the Auctioneers’ Margin Scheme and it should be noted that the VAT included within the premium is not recoverable as input tax.
- Artist’s Resale Rights/Droit de Suite. Lots as indicated in the catalogue and if sold for the equivalent of 1,000 Euros or more on the day of the auction will be subject to a further percentage of the hammer price as follows:
From 0 to 50,000 Euros subject to 4%
From 50,001 to 200,000 Euros subject to 3%
From 200,001 to 350,000 Euros subject to 1%
From 350,0001 to 500,000 Euros subject to 0.5%
Exceeding 500,000 Euros subject to 0.25%
The Artist’s Resale Right payable will be the aggregate of the amounts payable under the above rate bands, subject to maximum royalty payable of 12,500 Euros for any single work each time it is sold. Calculations of the artist’s resale right will be based on the pound sterling/Euro reference exchange rate quoted on the date of sale by the European Central Bank.
- Agents. We are, primarily, agents for the seller. We are dependent on information provided by the seller and whilst we may inspect lots and act reasonably in taking a general view about them we are normally unable to carry out a detailed or any examination of lots in order to ascertain their condition in the way in which it would be wise for a buyer to do. Intending buyers have ample opportunity for inspection of goods and, therefore, accept responsibility for inspecting and investigating lots in which they may be interested. Please note carefully the exclusion of liability for the condition of lots contained in the Conditions of Sale. Neither the seller nor we, as the auctioneers, accept any responsibility for their condition. In particular, mechanical objects of any age are not guaranteed to be in working order. Additionally, in specified circumstances lots mis-described because they are ‘deliberate forgeries’ may be returned and repayment made. There is a three week time limit. (The expression ‘deliberate forgery’ is defined in our Conditions of Sale).
- Electrical Goods. These are sold as ‘antiques’ or ‘decorative’ items only and if bought for use must first be checked for compliance with safety regulations by a qualified electrician.
- Coloured Gems. It is common practice for gemstones to be treated in order to enhance colour and clarity. Unless stated buyers should presume coloured stones may well have been exposed to some sort of treatment.
- Export of goods. Buyers intending to export goods should ascertain (a) whether an export licence is required and (b) whether there is any specific prohibition on importing goods of that character because, e.g. they may contain prohibited materials such as ivory.
- Bidding. Bidders are required to register with us before the sale commences and lots will be invoiced to the name and address on the registration form. Some form of identification may be required if you are unknown to us. Please enquire in advance about our arrangements for telephone bidding.
- Commission bidding. Commission bids may be left with the auctioneers indicating the maximum amount to be bid excluding the buyers’ premium. They will be executed as cheaply as possible having regard to the reserve (if any) and competing bids. If two buyers submit identical commission bids the auctioneers may prefer the first bid received. Please enquire in advance about our arrangements for leaving commission bids by telephone or email. Please ensure bids are left at least one hour prior to the start of the auction.
- Live Online bidding.
(a) An online bidding service is offered via the-saleroom.com. In completing the bidder registration on this site the buyer is agreeing to Thomas Watson’s conditions of sale.
(b) In the case where a debit or credit card has been used to register the buyer also agrees to authorise Thomas Watson’s, if they so wish, to charge the debit or credit card given in part or full payment, including all fees, for items successfully purchased in the auction via the online bidding platforms.
(c) Thomas Watson offers online bidding services as a convenience to its clients, but neither Thomas Watson’s nor the seller will be responsible to you for errors during or after the sale or failures to execute bids, either live bids or commission bids placed on the internet or on your mobile device, including, without limitation, errors or failures caused by: (i) any loss of connection to the auction being conducted online; (ii) a breakdown or problems with the online bidding software or the website service provider; and/or (iii) a breakdown or problems with any internet connection, computer, mobile device or system.
- Methods of Payment. Payment can be made by cash up to a value of £9,000, debit and credit cards or bank transfer. 'Person not present’ payments are subject to a maximum of £500.
- Collection and storage.
(a) Please note what the Conditions of Sale state about collection and storage. It is important that goods are paid for and collected promptly. Any delay will involve the buyer in paying storage charges. All lots must be collected within three working days following the auction. Storage charges of £2 per lot per day + VAT will be strictly enforced thereafter.
(b) Thomas Watson Auctioneers are unable to pack, post or deliver any items purchased through public or online auction, a list of suggested companies is supplied upon issuing of invoice, upon request or on the company website. These are suggestions only and are not the recommendation of Thomas Watson’s or affiliated with Thomas Watson’s in anyway and as such Thomas Watson’s cannot be held responsible for the individual performance of these companies.
Thomas Watson Auctioneers carries on business with bidders, buyers and all those present in the auction room and those bidding online prior to or in connection with a sale on the following General Conditions and on such other terms, conditions and notices as may be referred to herein.
In these Conditions:
(a) “auctioneer” means the firm of Thomas Watson Auctioneers or its authorised auctioneer, as appropriate;
(b) “deliberate forgery” means an imitation made with the intention of deceiving as to authorship, origin, date, age, period, culture or source but which is unequivocally described in the catalogue as being the work of a particular creator and which at the date of sale had a value materially less than it would have had if it had been in accordance with the description;
(c) “hammer price” means the level of bidding reached (at or above any reserve) when the auctioneer brings down the hammer;
(d) “terms of consignment” means the stipulated terms and rates of commission on which Thomas Watson Auctioneers accepts instructions from sellers or their agents;
(e) “total amount due” means the hammer price in respect of the lot sold together with any premium, Value Added Tax chargeable and any additional charges payable by a defaulting buyer under these Conditions;
(f) “sale proceeds” means the net amount due to the seller, being the hammer price of the lot sold less commission at the stated rate, Value Added Tax chargeable and any other amounts due to us by the seller in whatever capacity and however arising;
(g) “You”, “Your”, etc. refer to the buyer as identified in Condition 2.
(h) The singular includes the plural and vice versa as appropriate.
- Bidding Procedures and Conduct of the Auction.
(a) Bidders are required to register their particulars before bidding and to satisfy any security arrangements before entering the auction room to view or bid. Any bidder who refuses to provide the requested identification may be refused permission to bid.
(b) The auctioneer has discretion at any time to refuse any bid, withdraw any lot, re-offer a lot for sale (including after the fall of the hammer) if they believe there may be error or dispute, and take such action as they reasonably think fit.
(c) Subject to condition 2(b) the contract between the buyer and seller is concluded on the striking of the auctioneers hammer whereupon the buyer becomes liable to pay the purchase price.
(d) Any post auction sales of lots offered at auction shall incorporate these conditions as if sold in the auction.
(e) Our right to bid on behalf of the seller is expressly reserved up to the amount of any reserve and the right to refuse any bid is also reserved.
Bidding increments shall be at the auctioneer’s sole discretion.
- The Purchase Price.
The buyer shall pay the hammer price together with a premium thereon of 25%.
- Value Added Tax.
Value Added Tax on the hammer price is imposed by law on all items affixed with an asterisk or double asterisk. Value Added Tax is charged at the appropriate rate prevailing by law at the date of sale and is payable by buyers of relevant Lots. (Please refer to “Information for Buyers” for a brief explanation of the VAT position).
(1) Immediately a Lot is sold you will:
(a) give to us, if requested, proof of identify, and
(b) pay to us the total amount due in cash, debit, credit card or bank transfer or in such other way as is agreed by us.
(2) Any payments by you to us may be applied by us towards any sums owing from you to us on any account whatever without regard to any directions of you or your agent, whether express or implied.
- Title and Collection of Purchases.
The ownership of any Lots purchased shall not pass to you until you have made payment in full to us of the total amount due.
(a)(i) You shall at your own risk and expense take away any lots that you have purchased and paid for not later than 3 working days following the day of the auction. Cheques are required to be cleared by our bank before collection of goods in which case storage charges may apply.
(ii) Thomas Watsons are unable to pack, post or deliver any items purchased through public or online auction, a list of suggested companies is supplied upon issuing of invoices, upon request or on the company website. These are suggestions only and are not the recommendation of Thomas Watsons or affiliated with Thomas Watsons in anyway and as such Thomas Watsons cannot be held responsible for the individual performance of these companies.
(b) No purchase can be claimed or removed until it has been paid for and payment has cleared.
(c) Invoices will not be split or title transferred to another person(s). Invoices must be paid in full before any lots can be removed.
(d) Purchased lots must be collected within the allocated time as stated in the Information for Buyers section 13, storage charges are applicable thereafter. Purchased lots are at the Buyers risk (and therefore their sole responsibility for insurance) from the fall of the hammer.
- Remedies for Non-Payment or Failure to Collect Purchases.
(1) If any Lot is not paid for in full and taken away in accordance with these Conditions or if there is any other breach of these Conditions, we, as agent for the seller and on our own behalf, shall at our absolute discretion and without prejudice to any other rights we may have, be entitled to exercise one or more of the following rights and remedies:
(a) to proceed against you for damages for breach of contract;
(b) to rescind the sale of that Lot and/or any other Lots sold by us to you;
(c) to resell the Lot (by auction or private treaty) in which case you shall be responsible for any resulting deficiency in the total amount due (after crediting any part payment and adding any resale costs). Any surplus so arising shall belong to the seller;
(d) to remove, store and insure the Lot at your expense and, in case of storage, either at our premises or elsewhere;
(e) to charge interest at a rate not exceeding 1.5% per month on the total amount due to the extent it remains unpaid for more than 3 working days after the sale;
(f) to retain that or any other Lot sold to you until you pay the total amount due;
(g) to reject or ignore bids from you or your agent at future auctions or to impose conditions before any such bids shall be accepted;
(h) to apply any proceeds of sale of other Lots due or in future becoming due to you towards the settlement of the total amount due and to exercise a lien (that us a right to retain possession of) any of your property in our possession for any purpose until the debt due is satisfied.
(2) We shall, as agent for the seller and on our own behalf pursue these rights and remedies only so far as is reasonable to make appropriate recovery in respect of breach of these conditions.
- Third Party Liability.
All members of the public on our premises are there at their own risk and must note the lay-out of the accommodation and security arrangements. Accordingly neither the auctioneer nor our employees or agents shall incur liability for death or personal injury (except as required by law by reason of our negligence) or similarly for the safety of the property of persons visiting prior to or at a sale.
- Commission, Telephone Bids and Live Online Bidding.
Whilst prospective buyers are strongly advised to attend the auction and are always responsible for any decision to bid for a particular Lot and shall be assumed to have carefully inspected and satisfied themselves as to its condition we will if so instructed clearly and in writing execute bids on their behalf.
(a) Lots will be purchased by the Auctioneer on behalf of the commission bidder for the lowest price allowed by other bids and/or reserves if any, up to and including their maximum bid amount recorded. The Auctioneers cannot accept responsibility for any neglect or default in executing or failing to execute commission bids whether through the auctioneer or through any online bidding software, or where a bidding slip has been completed incorrectly. We urge commission bidders, to ensure that the correct lot number (s) and price (s) are recorded on their bidding forms.
(b) Where two or more commission bids at the same level are recorded we reserve the right at our absolute discretion to prefer the first bid so made.
(c) Telephone Bids. Any person unable to attend the auction may request to bid on a specific lot by telephone. This facility is only available by prior arrangement with the Auctioneers and not available for online only auctions. The Auctioneers cannot accept responsibility for any neglect or default in executing or failing to execute telephone bids. This service is only available for lots with a low estimate of £200 or over.
(d) Live Online Bidding. (i) An online bidding service is offered via the-saleroom.com. In completing the bidder registration on these sites the buyer is agreeing to Thomas Watsons conditions of sale.
(ii) In the case where a debit or credit card has been used to register the buyer also agrees to authorise Thomas Watsons, if they so wish, to charge the debit or credit card given in part or full payment, including all fees, for items successfully purchased in the auction via online bidding platforms.
(iii) Any lots purchased via the-saleroom.com will be subject to an additional 4.95% commission charge + VAT at the rate imposed on the hammer price.
(iv) Thomas Watsons offers online bidding services as a convenience to its clients, but neither Thomas Watsons nor the seller will be responsible to you for errors during or after the sale or failures to execute bids, either live bids or commission bids, placed on the internet or on your mobile device, including, without limitation, errors or failures caused by: (aa) any loss of connection to the auction being conducted online; (bb) a breakdown or problems with the online bidding software or the website service provider; and/or (cc) a breakdown or problems with any internet connection, compute, mobile device or system.
- Warranty of Title and Availability.
The seller warrants to the auctioneer and you that the seller is the true owner of the property consigned or is properly authorised by the true owner to consign it for sale and is able to transfer good and marketable title to the property free from any third party claims.
No representation or warranties are made by Thomas Watsons or the seller as to whether any lots are subject to copyright or whether the buyer acquires copyright in any lot.
The auctioneer normally acts as agent only and disclaims any responsibility for default by sellers or buyers.
- Terms of Sale.
The seller acknowledges that Lots are sold subject to the stipulations of these Conditions in their entirety and on the Terms of Consignment as notified to the consignor at the time of the entry of the Lot.
- Description and Conditions.
(a) Whilst we seek to describe lots accurately, it may be impractical for us to carry out exhaustive due diligence on each lot. Prospective buyers are given ample opportunities to view and inspect before any sale and they (and any independent experts on their behalf) must satisfy themselves as to the accuracy of any description of a lot. Buyers are welcome to make an appointment to view any lots listed on an online auction. Prospective buyers also bid on the understanding that, inevitably, representations or statements by us as to authorship, genuineness, origin, date, age, provenance, condition or estimated selling price involve matters of opinion. We undertake that any such opinion shall be honestly and reasonably held and accept liability for opinions given negligently or fraudulently. Subject to the foregoing neither we the auctioneer nor our employees or agents nor the seller accept liability for the correctness of such opinions and all conditions and warranties, whether relating to description, condition or quality of lots, express, implied or statutory, are hereby excluded. This Condition is subject to the next following Condition concerning deliberate forgeries and applies save as provided for in paragraph 6 “information to buyers”.
(b) Condition Reports. Reports on the condition of any lot are offered by the Auctioneers as a statement of opinion only, and not of fact. Thomas Watsons are not liable for any errors or omissions contained therein. The buyer must satisfy themselves to the condition of any given lot prior to bidding. Thomas Watsons will not be held responsible for any damage or defect that has not been notified to the buyer. Catalogue illustrations are for guidance only and will not convey full information as to the actual condition of lots.
(c) Where the term (a/f) is used this refers to a lot being ‘as found’, it is used for guidance only and indicates in our opinion there is significant damage or repair to an item and Thomas Watsons are not liable for the omission of this term.
(d) Private treaty sales made on these premises under these Conditions are deemed to be sales by auction for the purpose of consumer legislation.
Notwithstanding the preceding Condition, any Lot which proves to be a deliberate forgery (as defined) may be returned to us by you within 21 days of the auction provided it is in the same condition as when bought, and is accompanied by particulars identifying if from the relevant catalogue description and a written statement of defects. Thomas Watsons may require the buyer to obtain at the buyer’s cost the reports of two independent and recognised experts in the field, mutually acceptable to Thomas Watsons and the buyer, if we are satisfied from the evidence presented that the Lot is deliberate forgery we shall refund the money paid by you for the Lot including buyer’s premium provided that (1) if the catalogue description reflected the accepted view of scholars and experts as at the date of sale or (2) if you personally are not able to transfer a good and marketable title to us, you shall have no rights under this condition.
The right of return provided by this Condition is additional to any right or remedy provided by law or by these Conditions of Sale.
- We shall have the right at our discretion, to refuse admission to our premises or attendance at our auctions by any person.
- Where a member of the public causes damage to a lot (or part thereof) the Auctioneers reserve the right to:
(a) Sell the aforementioned without reserve and to hold that specific individual liable for the amount of any difference between the hammer price and the reserve or low estimate;
(b) Hold that specific individual liable for the cost of restoration where appropriate;
(c) Hold that specific individual liable for the full amount of the reserve or lower estimate as applicable.
- a) Any right to compensation for the losses liabilities and expenses incurred in respect of an as a result of any breach of these Conditions and any exclusions provided by them shall be available to the seller and/or the auctioneer as appropriate.
b) Such rights and exclusions shall extend to and be deemed to be for the benefit of employees and agents of the seller and/or the auctioneer who may themselves enforce them.
- Any notice to any buyer, seller, bidder or viewer may be given by first class mail or email if provided in which case it shall be deemed to have been received by the addressee 48 hours after posting.
- Special terms may be used in catalogue descriptions of particular classes of items in which case the descriptions must be interpreted in accordance with any glossary appearing at the commencement of the catalogue.
- Any indulgence extended to bidders or sellers by us notwithstanding the strict terms of these Conditions or of the Terms of Consignment shall affect the position at the relevant time only and in respect of that particular concession only; in all other respects these Conditions shall be construed as having full force and effect.
- English law applies to the interpretation of these Conditions.
These terms and conditions are based upon recommended conditions of sale by RICS
(Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors).