Saturday, August 25, 2007

Art Auctions: Sample Bidder Contract

Before you attend an auction of art masterpieces (Right. That's you and your millions I mean), you'll want to familiarize yourself with common auction terms - also known as a Bidder's Contract. Be advised that many large auction houses (e.g. Christies, Sotheby's, Bonham's, and Skinner) have their own rules and regs. In future articles, I'll share some winning auction strategies to outbid, outwit, outsmart, and outlast your competition.

A Bidder's Contract is entered into between the Bidder named and signed and the Auctioneers. A Bidder agrees that the terms shall govern the auction. Terms are often posted or announced from the auction block and are just as binding. Follow these simple steps: take a seat close to the auction block (you can visually inspect the items, hear the auctioneer better, and you're normally nearer to a doorway); pace yourself (many high quality items are saved until auction end when anxious buyers are tapped out financially or physically); read and review any available catalogues or descriptions; and have a blast!

1. Full Payment. All items must be paid for in full before Bidder leaves the premises. Nothing may be removed until it is settled for. Payments for purchases are normally made by cash, cashier's check, personal check, or business check when the Auctioneers allow. Letters of Credit or Guarantee must be for the current auction only, along with proof of identity. All sales are subject to State Tax laws. The Bidder agrees not to stop payment on checks or disallow a sight draft and is responsible for any expenses due to bad check collections. In the event of non-payment, the Auctioneers have the right to repossess, at any time, at your location, the merchandise.

2. No Warranty. All items are sold AS IS without any guarantee of any kind. Item descriptions appearing in advertising prior to an auction are believed to be correct. Descriptions, and/or oral statements made by an owner, his agents, officers, or Auctioneers, concerning any item shall not be construed as a warranty, either expressed or implied. The Bidder certifies that the merchandise has been examined and that the Bidder accepts it AS IS.

3. Disputes. Auctioneers designate the winning Bidder after each item is sold. When a dispute arises between two or more Bidders, the Auctioneer has the right to reopen the bidding. The Auctioneers' designation of a final buyer is normally considered final.

4. Buyers' Responsibility. When a Bidder has won the high bid, they become the new owners of an item, even though they may not have paid for it yet. The item becomes the full and sole responsibility of a Buyer and the Buyer assumes all risk of loss and damage. Buyers should guard their items.

5. Injury and Damage. The Bidder acknowledges responsibility for any personal injury or property damage caused by Bidder or his agent. The Buyer holds the Auctioneer harmless from any personal injury to himself or any property damage incurred on the premises.

6. Agents Only. The Auctioneer acts as the Owners Agent Only.