Sotheby's Australia

How to Buy & Sell

Buying Basics

Sotheby’s Australia will guide you through a simple and seamless buying process.  Our experienced staff will assist you, from selecting a work, to placing a bid to, should you be successful, shipping your purchase.  Collectors rely on Sotheby’s Australia to understand current market trends and which pieces have lasting value, allowing you to bid with confidence.

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How can I find out what's for sale?

1. Browse our e-catalogues on from your computer or mobile device.
2. Visit our presale exhibitions and speak with our specialists.
3. Purchase our print catalogues, which are available by subscription or single order.
4. Register to receive e-mail alerts so that you never miss a sale in your area of interest.

How can I get more information on items in a sale?


At Sotheby's Australia the greatest resource for information about the quality and character of property is our team of specialists.  Our specialists, many of whom possess the highest degree in their respective fields, appraise, catalogue and sell hundreds of valuable objects in any given year.

Catalogues & e-Catalogues

Before each auction we publish illustrated catalogues which provide full descriptions and estimated values for each lot.  The catalogue description may include further scholarly analysis of an introduction or essay.   We offer our catalogues by subscription annually or purchase by single copy.

The estimates in the catalogues are provided as an approximate guide to current market value and should not be interpreted as a representation or prediction of actual selling prices. This estimate, expressed in a low/high range of dollar amounts, is reached after the specialist compares prices realised for similar items in recent auctions and other sales venues.  Other factors that guide the setting of estimates include the condition, rarity, provenance and market potential of the item.  They are determined well in advance of a sale and are subject to revision. Please contact us should you have any questions about value estimates.


Auction Exhibitions are your chance to inspect each lot prior to the auction.  We encourage you to look closely and examine each object on which you may want to bid so that you will know as much as possible about it.  Except as expressly set forth in the Conditions of Sale, items are sold "as is" and with all faults; illustrations in our catalogues, website and other materials are provided for identification only.  At the previews, our staff are available to answer your questions and guide you through the auction process.  Condition reports for property may be available upon request.

How do I register to bid?

Register in Person
You can register to bid in person at the sale location before the auction begins. You will need to create an account and provide a government-issued proof of identity such as a driver’s license or passport. A bank reference may also be required or a deposit.  

Register Online
You can also register on by viewing the forthcoming events and, once you identify the desired auction, click on the hammer icon to register for the selected event. Additionally, the Overview page for each auction gives the option to Register to Bid. You must register 24 hours prior to the auction.  You will need to establish an account with Sotheby’s Australia and provide a government-issued proof of identity such as a driver’s license or passport. A bank reference may also be required or a deposit.

How do I place a bid?

There are four ways to bid at Sotheby’s Australia. You will be prompted to select your preferred bidding method when you click Register to Bid.

1. Bid in person to experience the live excitement of an auction first hand.
2. Place your bids in real time via /bidlive.  Registration closes 24 hours before the sale.
3. Register to Telephone Bid with a Sotheby’s Australia’s representative. You may register online or fill-out and submit the telephone bid form. Registration closes 24 hours before the sale.
4. Submit an Absentee Bid either online or via the Absentee bid form. You must complete this 24 hours prior to the sale.

If successful, our Post Sale Service team will be happy to assist you with payment as well as the collection or shipment of your purchase. 

How do I pay for my purchase?

Immediately following the sale, the Post Sale Service team will send you an Invoice.  The final amount due will include the hammer price, the buyer’s premium, and any local taxes and known service fees. 

You can pay by bank transfer, cheque or cash (subject to certain restrictions and legal limits).  Visa, MasterCard, Union Pay and American Express credit cards are accepted and surcharges for their use applies, please contact our office for further information.  Please note that payment made by personal or business cheque will result in property not being released until purchase funds clear into our account.

Payment must be sent from the invoiced party and not from a third party.  Successful bidders can pay the day after buying, otherwise an invoice will be mailed or emailed to you.  See our Conditions of Business for the full details.  Property will not be released until Sotheby’s Australia has cleared funds.

How will I receive my property?

Upon payment, you may pick up your purchases at the auction location or arrange to have them shipped.  All purchases should be picked up or shipped within two business days after the auction. After that time, your property will be subject to a handling charge and you may be charged for storage. 

Sotheby’s Australia’s Post Sale Service team can help arrange expert delivery and convenient shipping of your property. Our suppliers offer exceptional service and competitive rates whether shipping a single picture, a diamond bracelet or a large piece of furniture.

Sotheby's Australia will source a full range of services for you, including collection, packing and arranging for shipping and transit indemnity worldwide.  Please notify our saleroom office if you need assistance or additional time to arrange collection of your purchases.