US Stamps

In search of ideas for auction house premiums

Jan 18, 2022, 8 AM
Many philatelic auction houses add a 20 percent buyer’s premium to the bid price. Some offer a discount for prompt payment, too.

Philatelic Foreword by Jay Bigalke

As buyer’s premiums increase at auction houses — not just in the stamp world — I wonder if there might be different ideas out there.

Many philatelic auction houses charge a 20 percent buyer’s premium, and some offer a small percentage off if payment is received promptly.

But last week, a collector friend told me about an antiques auction house that went a little bit further with a pay and pick-up method.

The auction house went the standard route of hammer price plus a 15 percent premium, but if the lots are picked up in person the day of the auction, the buyer’s premium dropped to a minimal percentage.

I do understand that tax would be placed on the in-person purchase, but with the South Dakota v.
Wayfair ruling that allows states to require an out-of-state seller to collect and remit sales tax on sales to in-state consumers, that will eventually become the expected situation in the future.

I can see potential cost savings here for the collectors and the auction house.

A collector could either attend in person or send an agent to save a few dollars, especially on higher ticket items.

After a sale, the auction house usually has a lot of fulfillment of the purchases, and money could be saved in labor, supplies and shipping costs.

For either a future Philatelic Foreword column or Letters to Linn’s, let me know your thoughts on the subject. Email or send a letter to Linn’s Stamp News, Box 4129, Sidney, OH 45365.

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