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Silver Collector Forums

Buying through auctions?


I’m very new to collecting silver and just wondered if anyone has had much luck with buying through auction houses?

A friend of a friend recommended Fellows in the West Midlands after purchasing a dinner service from them but I’m not entirely sure how bidding at auction works!

Any info would be much appreciated.

Thank you.

I suggest you go along to a few auctions with no intention of buying. Just observe how it all works and you’ll soon get the hang of it. The main rule is to give yourself a limit on any item you find interesting and under no circumstances exceed it - “just one more bid” leads to another, and another… It might also be worth looking at the online auctioneer eBay to get an idea of what silver is selling for there.

Visiting auctions can be a lot of fun to begin with. You will instantly get a first hand look into what to expect and might even find something you like first go. Some people just go for the fun of it anyway. I always get outbid, but it’s a nice afternoon out, despite.

Dear Lunabird,

A few things to remember when considering an item at auction both online and in person.

Many estimate prices are a ‘come and get me’ lure, and in my experience items normally exceed their estimate. Before bidding take into account other fees ie: auction house commission (typically 17 to 20%), vat, possible charge for using credit card and if you live far away a delivery service.

These fees on top of an already over estimate can make a difference and need to be included in your top bid price considerations.

If you do choose online services e.g. the-salesroom’ or in-house services remember to always ask for a condition report and additional photo’s, in particular a photo of the hallmarks. Once you have all the above information only then consider if bidding is viable. Using online services is very convenient and a benefit of the web, however there is no substitute for handling a piece in person.