Types of Sales - Estimates - Exhibitions - Bidding - Payment

Miscellaneous - Appraisals

The following will help explain the auction process at Sloans & Kenyon for those who are interested in bidding or buying at one of our auctions. This Guide is only a supplement to the Terms and Conditions. All bidders should read the Terms & Conditions section of this site, or in the catalogue, as well as any supplemental notices. By bidding at a Sloans & Kenyon auction, the bidders are bound by those Terms and Conditions, as amended by any oral announcement or posted notices, which together form the contract of sale among the successful bidder (purchaser), Sloans & Kenyon and the seller (consignor) of the lot.

Please remember that all property is sold “As Is”. There is only a limited right of rescission as described in the Terms and Conditions. If you have any questions regarding the information below or the Terms and Conditions, please contact one of our representatives.

Types of Sales
Sloans & Kenyon holds two types of auctions:

  • Catalogue auctions: Featuring high-end, fine arts and collectibles, supported by a full-color catalogue. Held 6 – 8 times per year.

  • Collector’s Cornerstone auctions: Displaying vintage furniture, Americana and lower-valued collectibles; held monthly. B&W lot listing.

    Except as noted, Terms and Conditions are identical for each type of auction. Sale dates and times are shown in the catalogue or lot listing and on the Sloans & Kenyon web site.

    The Sloans & Kenyon catalogue provides descriptions and auction estimates for each lot in the sale. Both low and high estimates are given for each lot. The estimates are guides for prospective bidders and, where possible, reflect prices that similar objects have sold for in the past. The estimates are determined prior to the sale and are subject to revision to reflect current market conditions. Estimates should not be relied upon as a representation or prediction of actual selling prices. Questions can be directed to Sloans & Kenyon representatives listed in the catalogue.

    A public exhibition is held prior to each auction to enable prospective bidders to examine any items of interest. Sloans & Kenyon representatives are also on hand at the exhibitions to answer questions about the auction process. The dates and times of exhibitions are shown in the auction catalogue and on the Sloans & Kenyon web site.

    Bidding Numbers
    All bidders (except those bidding through eBay Live Auctions—see below) must register and receive a Sloans & Kenyon bidding number prior to bidding at the auction. To obtain a bidding number, contact the Sloans & Kenyon business office in Bethesda, MD at (301) 634-2330 or via email at bidder@sloansandkenyon.com. First-time bidders may also request a bidding number by registering on the Sloans and Kenyon site. A new bidding number must be obtained for each auction.

    If you have not previously done business with Sloans & Kenyon, you will be expected to furnish identification and possibly credit references in order to receive a bidding number. If you are acting as another’s agent for bidding purposes, you should provide a letter or other authorization from the principal.

    How to Bid

    There are four ways to bid at Sloans & Kenyon:
    (i) in person – with a bidding card issued by Sloans & Kenyon
    (ii) by absentee bid – using the absentee bid form contained in the back of this catalogue
    (iii) by telephone bid – participating in the auction via telephone (during catalogue auctions only)
    (iv) by online (Internet) bid prior to or during the sale. Bids may be left at this site prior to the sale. After registering and obtaining a PIN, view or search a catalogue. Go to the item of interest , click on the 'Bid and Track' icon and you will be asked for your details.

    In partnership with eBay and Artfact, Sloans & Kenyon also offers live online bidding during a sale. For more information, please visit www.artfact.com. Bidders using this venue register with eBay Live Auctions, not with Sloans & Kenyon. No bidding number is required.

    The directions for absentee, telephone and online bidding are contained in the Terms of Absentee Bidding in the Sloans & Kenyon Terms and Conditions.

    The Sloans & Kenyon Terms and Conditions apply to all bidding venues.

    Bidding Increments
    If you are the successful bidder on a lot, the auctioneer will acknowledge your bidding number and you will become the purchaser at the time the auctioneer so states. Bidding will be in accordance with the lot numbers listed in the catalogue unless the auctioneer states otherwise and will be in increments determined by the auctioneer. Generally, but not always, those increments are as follows:

    $0 to $200 $10
    $200 to $500 $25
    $500 to $1,000 $50
    $1,000 to $3,000 $100
    $3,000 to $5,000 $250
    $5,000 to $10,000 $500
    $10,000 to $20,000 $1,000
    Above $20,000 Auctioneer's Discretion

    Seller Not Permitted to Bid on his Own Property
    Sloans & Kenyon acts as an agent for the Seller and prohibits any Seller from bidding on his own property. It is important for all bidders to know that the auctioneer may open the bidding on any lot by placing a bid on behalf of the seller and may continue bidding for the seller by placing responsive or consecutive bids, but only up to the reserve. (Please see the next paragraph for information regarding reserves.) The auctioneer will not place consecutive bids on behalf of the seller above the reserve.

    All lots are offered subject to a reserve. A reserve is the confidential minimum price established between Sloans & Kenyon and the Seller, below which the lot will not be sold. The reserve is generally set at a percentage of the low estimate and will not exceed, in any case, the low estimate of the lot as contained in the catalogue. Sloans & Kenyon, at its discretion, may not set reserves for certain lots.

    Hammer Price (or Successful Bid Price) and Buyer’s Premium
    For lots that are sold, the last price for a lot as announced by the auctioneer is the hammer, or successful bid, price. A buyer’s premium will be added to the hammer, or successful bid, price and is payable by the purchaser as part of the total purchase price. The buyer’s premium will be the amount stated in the Terms and Conditions, Paragraph 4.

    Absentee Bidding
    If you choose not to attend a Sloans & Kenyon auction in person, and wish to place bids; you may give Sloans & Kenyon instructions to bid on your behalf. Our representative(s) will then try to purchase the designated lot or lots of your choice for the lowest price possible, and never for more than the top bid price in your instructions. This service is free and confidential. The Terms and Conditions printed in the catalogue and online apply to all bidders, whether in person or absentee.

    Complete the official Sloans & Kenyon Absentee Bid Form and fax it back to us at (301) 656-7074 or click absentee bid form for a copy of the form. Be sure to accurately record the lot numbers, descriptions and the top price you are willing to pay for each lot. Do not leave the bid price open (“buy” or “unlimited” will not be accepted as bids). Always indicate a top limit – the highest price you would be willing to bid if you were present at the auction. Always place your bids in the same order as the lot numbers appear in the catalogue.

    Absentee bids MUST be submitted in writing by fax using the absentee bidding form. Absentee bids will not be accepted via telephone.

    Each absentee bid form should contain bids only for the current sale. The particular sale should be indicated at the appropriate place on the bid form. Please place yourbid as early as possible. In the event of identical bids, the earliest received will take priority.

    Absentee bids must be received at least two hours prior to the start of any auction session.

    Telephone Bidding (during catalogue sales only)
    Bids may be placed by telephone during the sale, but are accepted only at Sloans & Kenyon’s discretion and at the caller’s risk. You may make arrangements before a sale for a Sloans & Kenyon representative to contact you at a telephone number of your designation in order for you to participate in the bidding on particular lot(s).
    Please make your arrangements for telephone bidding as early as possible. Sloans & Kenyon cannot guarantee that requests received later than two hours prior to the beginning of the sale will be executed.
    Sloans & Kenyon will not accept telephone bidding for lots with low estimates under $500.00. Sloans & Kenyon strongly discourages the use of cellular phones, as they are not reliable and beeper numbers are not acceptable.

    Telephone bids MUST be submitted in writing by fax using the telephone bid form. Telephone bids will not be accepted via telephone.

    Online (Internet) Bidding
    Sloans & Kenyon offers two types of online bidding:

  • Live (real time) bidding, using the Internet to place bids as the item is offered for sale, as if you were actually in the auction gallery. This service is made available in partnership with eBay Live Auctions and Artfact. Visit www.ebayliveauctions.com or www.artfact.com for more information, to register and to bid.
  • Pre-auction bidding on the Sloans & Kenyon web site, to leave a bid prior to the auction. This process is essentially equivalent to leaving an absentee bid, but using the Internet instead of a printed form. You can also request that a lot be tracked, which allows you to recall the item without having to search the sale catalogue. To bid or track, you first must be registered
  • Electronic sale catalogues are maintained at on both Sloans & Kenyon and eBay Live Auctions web sites.

    Like all remote bidders, online bidders are encouraged to obtain as much information as possible about any item on which they wish to bid, by requesting condition reports or, preferably, personal inspection. Regardless of the buyer’s venue, in-person or remote, all purchases are “AS IS” and cannot be returned after the sale except under very limited circumstances. See Rescission by Purchaser in the Sloans & Kenyon Terms and Conditions.

    Sloans & Kenyon reserves the right to impose additional charges for online purchases. See our Terms and Conditions for details.

    Payment for Purchased Property
    If you are the successful bidder on a lot, payment is to be made immediately following a sale. You will not be permitted to take delivery of your purchases until payment is made, unless a credit arrangement has been established with Sloans & Kenyon. Please contact the Sloans & Kenyon business office to make arrangements for immediate payment. Sloans & Kenyon reserves the right to impose a late payment charge.

    Methods of payment include cash, check, wire transfer and Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and debit cards. Sloans & Kenyon may require that purchases paid by check not be removed until the check has cleared. To avoid delay in removing your purchases, you should make arrangements with the Sloans & Kenyon business office prior to the sale to pre–approve your check.

    Sales Tax
    All applicable local and state taxes will be charged on the sum of the successful bid price plus the buyer’s premium. If the purchaser has a certificate of exemption from sales or other taxes from the jurisdiction in which the auction is held, such certificate of exemption should be presented to the Sloans & Kenyon business office prior to the sale. Otherwise, Sloans & Kenyon will collect all applicable taxes.

    Handling Fees
    Sloans & Kenyon reserves the right to charge a handling fee as a percentage of the hammer price for purchases made with credit cards.

    Post Sale Purchases and Price Lists
    Following all Sloans & Kenyon auctions, a post-sale price list is published which contains the hammer price for each lot. Unsold lots do not appear on the post-sale price list. The price list is available on this site or from the Business Office.

    If you are interested in a post–sale purchase of an unsold lot, contact the Sloans & Kenyon Business Office for further information.

    Export or Resale Restrictions
    Certain property sold at auction may be subject to restrictions on its export or resale. For example, restrictions may be imposed under the provisions of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, the Migratory Bird Act of 1982 and the state conservation laws of the state in which the auction is conducted. In order to export certain items, the successful high-bidder must obtain special licenses from the Department of the Interior, United States Fish & Wildlife Service. Although licenses can be obtained to export some items that are the subject of these, or other laws, other items may not be exported (such as items containing whalebone) and some property may not be resold in the United States.

    Prospective purchasers who intend to export or resell any restricted items are solely responsible for obtaining such licenses and Sloans & Kenyon cannot and does not assure the purchasers that such licenses are obtainable by the purchaser.

    Prospective purchasers are also advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing ivory or tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs or other regulations prior to bidding, if they intend to import such property into another country.


    Sloans & Kenyon specialists provide fair market value appraisals for auction purposes. These verbal appraisals are free of charge and can be arranged by appointment with one of our Specialist Departments.

    We also provide written appraisals for estate, insurance and probate purposes for a reasonable fee.
    For more information regarding appraisals and to schedule appointments with our department specialists, please contact Stephanie Kenyon at (301) 634-2330 or email us at appraisals@sloansandkenyon.com.

    Revised 25 August 2003.

    Copyright 2005 Sloans & Kenyon Auctioneers and Appraisers ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.