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.

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. Registration forms can be filled out online or in person at our saleroom. 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 online or in person at our saleroom.

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 amount, the first bid received will be the buyer.

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.

Bid online at

If you would like to leave a bid on our website you can do so up until 30 minutes before the sale starts, thereafter you have the facility to bid live through Please note if you are bidding through you will be charged an additional 3% (plus VAT) commission on the hammer price. Bidding through is free for all registered clients.

Live bidding

If you wish to bid live you can do so whilst the sale is underway at A 'Bid Live' button will appear on lots on our website - simply click the button to bid live.


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 22% 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.

Methods of payment

Payment can be made in person by credit or debit card. Please be advised that credit cards incur a 2% surcharge plus VAT. We accept credit or debit card payments over the phone for invoices totalling up to £1000. Payment will also be accepted by cash, bank transfer or cheque. The maximum cash we can legally accept is €10,000 per transaction. Any cheque payment will have to clear before goods are released. 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
Homes and Interiors

Tuesday, 28th November 2017 10:00

Remind me



News & Articles