Selling through Sotheby's

If you have property you wish to sell, Sotheby's team of specialists and client service representatives can help you through the entire process.
Valuation estate auction Sotheby's

Evaluation & decision to sell

The first step in the process is to arrange a consultation with one of Sotheby's specialist departments. If you aren't sure which department to contact, or if you have a variety of objects to sell, please call one of Sotheby's General Inquiries representatives at + 1 (212) 606-7010 in New York or + 44 (020) 7293-5000 in London.

Depending on your location, you may bring your property directly to Sotheby's galleries, where a department specialist will meet with you, conduct an evaluation, and provide you with a preliminary auction estimate. If visiting Sotheby's offices is not practical, it is possible to have a basic valuation done by mail. To obtain a mail evaluation, please print and fill out an auction estimate request form and mail it to Sotheby's along with photos of your item(s). Due to the high volume of requests Sotheby's receives for valuations by mail, Sotheby's asks that you please be patient. Sotheby's will respond to your auction estimate request within 4-6 weeks. It is very important to Sotheby's to provide the highest level of service; accordingly, Sotheby's cannot rush valuations.

Based on the valuation's results, you and Sotheby's experts will decide whether your property is appropriate for sale at auction. Sotheby's will also recommend an appropriate venue and possible sale timing. If you decide to proceed, you will sign a contract, and Sotheby's will take the property in for cataloguing and photography.

Sotheby's Art Transport or Shipping Department can help you arrange to have your property delivered to Sotheby's offices, if necessary. As the consignor, you are responsible for packing, shipping and insurance charges. Please contact the main number of the Sotheby's location conducting your auction to reach the shipping department.
Minimal price sales auction Sotheby's

Seller's contract & payment

The seller contract covers two important issues that will affect your bottom line: the reserve price and Sotheby's commissions.

The reserve is the confidential minimum selling price to which a consignor (you) and Sotheby's agree before the sale - your property's "floor" price, below which no bid will be accepted. If bidding on your item fails to reach the reserve, Sotheby's will not sell the piece and will advise you of your options. It is important to consider the reserve price in light of the fact that Sotheby's will assess fees and handling costs for unsold lots.

Sellers pay a commission that is deducted, along with any agreed-upon expenses, from the hammer price. Should you have any specific questions regarding the selling commission, please call the appropriate Sotheby's specialist department for more information.

Shortly after the sale, you will receive a listing of the final hammer price for each item you consigned. Sotheby's will send payment within 35 days from the day of the sale provided Sotheby's is in receipt of the buyer's payment.