Buying with Sworders

At Sworders we want to make buying at auction, either in the saleroom or online, as easy and enjoyable as possible. With both specialists and client services available, whatever your interest or query we are always on hand to help.


New to auctions? Watch our handy guide for first time bidders


How to Bid


In person

To bid in person at auction for the first time please register for a bidding paddle in advance by filling out and submitting a registration form at our front desk. When registering in person we require photo ID, such as a passport or driving licence.


Absentee bidding

For absentee bids, Sworders bid on your behalf and attempt to purchase the lot for you at the lowest price, allowing for other bids and any reserve price, up to your pre-submitted maximum bid. Absentee bids can be left either online, in person at our saleroom or emailed directly to us at (please ensure that you supply us with your full name, postal address, email address, and contact numbers to enable us to register your bids). We will always confirm your bids by email, so please contact us if you do not receive this. 

Absentee bids can be left up to half an hour before the start of any sale. Please note when we receive two or more absentee bids for the same lot at the same bid amount, we will prioritise the first bid received.


Telephone bidding

For telephone bids, we will contact you during the sale, and a saleroom representative will bid live with you over the phone. Bid amounts do not include buyers premium. We offer this service for higher value lots with an estimate of £500 or more for our Specialist Sales. Requests to bid by telephone need to be made before 4pm, the day before the sale.


Leave commission bids online at

If you would like to leave a commission bid on our website you can do so up until 30 minutes before the sale starts. Leaving a commission bid through is free for all registered clients. 


Live internet bidding

Sworders is pleased to offer a live internet bidding service. A 'Bid Live' button will appear on the auction on our homepage when a sale is live - simply click the button to sign in/register with card details. We also list our sales live with third party live bidding platforms. Any lots purchased via a live online bidding service may be subject to an additional commission charge on the hammer price payable by the bidder, in accordance with rates specified by the online service. From 1 January 2020 there will be no additional charges while bidding via Sworders website. If bidding through this will be charged at 4.95% plus VAT, both charges will be payable to us on top of the hammer price and our buyer’s commission.



Things to consider 


Condition reports

We highly recommend that potential bidders gather as much information as possible regarding a lot before placing a bid. If you are unable to view a lot in person you may request a condition report and/or additional images of a lot. If you would like a report on the condition of your lot(s) you can view them from the online catalogue when they become available or request one at

Please be aware that we receive a large volume of requests for additional information prior to an auction and whilst we endeavour to reply to all enquiries in a timely fashion, we may not be able to provide a full report until the last few days before the auction.


Understanding buyer's premium and the final price you have to pay

All purchases are subject to a buyers premium of 25% plus VAT except for our Fine Wine & Port auctions when the buyers premium is 15% (VAT is not applicable to Books). When you successfully bid on any lot, the price you pay will be the hammer price (the value you bid at the auction), plus the buyers premium.


Artists resale right

Lots marked with an asterisk (*) indicates that the law dictates the lot will be subject to additional Artists Resale Right charges. Artist's Resale Right was introduced by a European Directive in 2006 to ensure that artists receive a royalty when their work is resold by an auction house or gallery. This Right applies to living artists and to those who have died within the last 70 years. This royalty is paid by the purchaser on top of the hammer price if the sale price reaches or exceeds 1000 euros. The amount payable is on a sliding scale - e.g. up to 50,000 euros, the royalty rate is 4% of the sale price. The maximum royalty a work can earn is capped at 12,500 euros. For full details click here.


Methods of payment

Payment is accepted by cash, cheque, bank transfer, credit or debit card. We accept cash to an upper limit of 10,000 euros equivalent. We accept credit card payments to an upper limit of £5,000. Usually any cheques will need to be cleared before you can take the goods away. Please be aware that cheque clearance will take eight days from deposit. We will only release goods to a third party upon receipt of identification and authority from the purchaser. Please refer to our full terms and conditions.


Collection and shipping

Please click here to be taken to our Collection and Shipping page.


Next auction

Homes and Interiors (including Coins)
Homes and Interiors (including Coins)
Tuesday, 7th April 2020 10:00
Last consignment: Monday, 30th March 2020

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