Buying FAQs

What is the best way to learn about a lot that interests me?

We would always recommend that you view in person where possible. The public pre-auction viewing is usually the day before the sale. Private viewings can be arranged through Brompton’s at any time before the sale date, please contact the office to arrange an appointment. Brompton’s specialists are always on hand to discuss any questions you might have. Condition reports are also available upon request.

What do the * symbols mean? (as listed in Brompton’s Catalogue and Online)

These symbols denote lots which have been imported from outside the EU and are subject to Import Tax, as follows:

No stars: Import Tax not applicable.

One star * : Import tax is charged at 5% on the hammer price (as the item is antique)

Two stars ** : Import tax is charged at 20% on the hammer price (as the item is not antique)

How do I register to bid in person?

If you plan to bid in person, please bring identification and arrive 20-30 minutes before the auction to complete a bidder registration form and receive your bidding paddle. You are also able to register up to 30 minutes before your first lot is due.

How can I bid if I cannot attend the auction in person?

If you are unable to attend an auction in person you can leave an absentee bid either in writing or via our online catalogue. Absentee bids forms are printed in the auction catalogue or are available from our offices and can be returned by email or fax. Online absentee bids can be submitted via the Brompton’s website.

To bid by telephone during the auction, contact Brompton’s to receive a Telephone Bids Form. One of our clerks will call you during the auction and will relay your bids to the auctioneer.

You can register to bid in real-time during the auction via where you can see and hear the auctioneer to bid as if you were in the auction room. Register online through the link on our website and follow the clear instructions.

What is the latest time that I can arrange to bid?

Our sale room has a deadline of midnight prior to the auction. Please contact the Bids Office for details.

When will the auctioneer offer my lot for sale?

It is impossible to know the exact time when a lot will be offered during the auction, but the usual speed of our auctioneers is 80-100 lots per hour.

How can I learn about the terms for buying at Brompton’s?

All bidders are required to read our Terms and Conditions which are present in both printed and online formats of the auction catalogues.

What is the buyer's premium?

The Buyer’s Premium is an additional sum of 20% added to the final sale (hammer) price. Please bear in mind that the Buyer's Premium, is subject to VAT (value added tax) currently at 20%.

Will shipping charges be included in the purchase price?

No, shipping is a separate charge. We encourage prospective buyers to request shipping estimates from their own carriers or from Brompton’s preferred shippers. Please see the ‘Shipping’ page on our website for more details.

Are there any special instructions for successful overseas bidders?

If you have purchased an instrument and paid an additional import tax then please contact Brompton’s before arranging shipping or collection as these instruments have customs and excise implications for buyers.

If you live outside the EU and wish to obtain a VAT refund you must contact your chosen shipper in advance to ensure that the correct proof of export can be provided and sent to Brompton’s. We are only able to issue a full VAT refund with the correct export documentation.

How can I contact the Bids Office?

Telephone +44 (0)20 7670 2932 or email