Buying at auction

There are four ways of buying with W H Lane.  You may bid in the room on the sale day, leave a commission bid with us to execute on your behalf, arrange a telephone bid, or bid on-line.  In each case you will need to bear in mind that there is a buyer’s premium payable on each lot in addition to the hammer price.  There is VAT payable on the buyer’s premium at the standard rate.  In addition to these standard charges there are fees applicable to buyers on line and a charge known as Artists Resale Rights (ARR), occasionally referred to as droite de suite.  ARR applies to paintings in the secondary market, works of art and sculptures wrought by living artists, it remains applicable up to seventy years after the artists death.

Room bidding

You will need to register at our reception desk and you will be provided with a paddle number.  It is advisable to register prior to the commencement of the sale, especially if you are a first time bidder, to ensure you are settled in the room in good time prior to the lot(s) you are interested in being offered.  As a guide, the auctioneer offers lots for auction at a rate of 100-120 lots per hour.  When the lot you are interested in comes up indicate clearly to the auctioneer that wish to bid, a wave of the hand or showing your bidding number. The auctioneer will indicate if the bidding is with you or with another individual in the room/internet/commission bid.  If you have been out bid and wish to bid one more indicate again until you reach your limit or the bid is with you and there are no opposing bids.  If you are the successful bidder the auctioneer will ask for your bidding number and will note this down together with the hammer price in the auctioneer’s book.  At the conclusion of the sale we would ask that you settle your account.  The price will be the total hammer price plus buyers premium and ARR (if applicable).

Commission Bidding

You may leave a bid with us to execute on your behalf.  Decide how much you would like to bid and note this down on one of our commission bid forms, together with your contact details.  We will try to purchase the lot on your behalf against any other bidding.  The auctioneer will normally open the bidding with a figure at the reserve price and take consecutive bids from commissions, the room and internet until the figure you left has been exceeded.  If no bids exceed yours, the lot will be sold to you at lowest figure exceeding that of the next highest bid.  There is no additional fee for this service other than buyer’s premium.

Telephone Bids

We can arrange a telephone bid on specific lots in each sale.  This needs to be prearranged a day prior to the auction and is only applicable on lots with an estimate in excess of £300.  A member of our staff will telephone you five lots prior to the auctioneer offering the lot that you are interested in.  When the lot is offered you will be advised what the ‘asking price’ is and if you would like to bid.  You will be advised of a competing bid and asked if you would like to bid again.  This process would continue until you are successful or you are outbid.  There are no additional fees for this service other than buyer’s premium.

Internet Bidding

You may bid on-line for lots in our auctions.  Our sales appear on and you may register to bid on-line via that website.  There is an additional charge payable to the website provider of 4.95% (plus VAT) for successful buyers using this service.  This charge will appear on your invoice as a separate charge .

Condition Reports

We are pleased to provide condition reports for lots in our auctions.  Such reports are offered as guidance only to the general condition of a lot.  In all circumstances we would ask buyers to ensure they are satisfied as to the condition of lots prior to bidding.

Catalogue Amendments

Catalogues are prepared in advance, on occasion the auctioneer may amend a description or estimate whilst the lots are on view.  Such amendments will be announced by the auctioneer and are displayed on an amendment sheet posted in the saleroom.  Buyers are advised to familiarise themselves with any such amendment prior to bidding for a lot.


Lots Purchased lots need to be collected three working days of the auction.  Lots left in our care after this deadline would be subject to a storage fee of £2 (plus VAT) per lot per day.  Lots left for a period in excess of three months will be sold.


We are pleased to offer a packing service for selected lots in our sales.  This service is limited by the size and nature of the lots in question.  In circumstances were the lots in question are beyond our scope we would be pleased to recommend local specialists carriers.  In-house packing will be charged at cost.  In all cases we would be pleased to discuss your individual requirements.

Bidding Increments

W H Lane normally use fixed bidding increments as detailed below.  However increments are at the auctioneers discretion and may vary.

Bid Value Increment Bid Value Increment
0 – £50 £5
£50 – £200 £10
£200 – £500 £20
£500 – £1,000 £50
£1,000 – £2,000 £100
£2,000 – £5,000 £200
£5,000 – £10,000 £500
£10,000 – £20,000 £1,000
£20,000 – £50,000 £2,000
£50,000 – £100,000 £5,000
£100,000 – £200,000 £10,000

W.H. Lane & Son

Specialists in Fine Art, the Applied Arts and general Estate Collections.

Further, the auction house is internationally recognised as a leading paintings specialist including the Newlyn and St Ives Schools. We can value all items of an antiquarian nature for insurance, probate and family division.