Buying at Auction

Unless otherwise specified for a given auction, these are the terms for auctions at W. A. Smith's Auction Gallery
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In Person and
Absentee Bidding


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Phone Bidding


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SmithLive Online


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LiveAuctioneers and
Other 3rd Party Platforms

25% cash or check +
3% for credit cards

Bidding in person, the tried and true traditional method of bidding in the Auction Gallery, is the most exciting, effective, and successful way to participate in auction. When you arrive at our gallery, please register for a bidder number with our staff. You will need to present a photo ID and contact information.

Once the sale begins, the auctioneer will announce each lot and open the bidding in the Gallery. To bid, simply raise your bidder number for the auctioneer to recognize your bid. The bidding progresses in sequentially higher increment. Once the bidding stops, the auctioneer will declare the item sold and ask for the bidder number of the successful bidder on the lot.

Upon request our staff will execute your Absentee bid. Please leave your maximum bid, with the option of leaving your bid (+) plus one bid, in case you happen to be the ‘off’ bid. At Smith’s we do not use your Absentee bid as a starting bid for said lot. Your bid will be conducted competitively, alternating against other bidders until the bidding ends. In the event all other bidders drop out before reaching the full amount of your Absentee bid, your purchase bid will be at the next bid increment. Please take into account all other buyers premium and applicable fees when deciding on your maximum bid. Proof of identification and a credit card is required to register. If we receive two bids of equal value, preference is given to the bid that arrives first. All bids are confidential.

Clients unable to attend the sale may still participate live at the auction by bidding on the phone with a Smith's staff member. Unlike an absentee bid, this allows you to place your own bids on a specific lot in real time. You will receive a call from us before your lot comes to the block, and be able to bid Live. Our staff will keep you apprised of the increments and relay the auctioneers asking bid to you, they will need to hear an Immediate ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’ in return from you, in order to effectively participate in the bidding.

All phone bids are conducted as a courtesy and Smith's does not accept responsibility for missed lots, dropped calls, inadvertent mistakes or errors. It is ALWAYS best to bid Live and In Person at the auction.

Phone bids are accepted until 4pm and sometimes 5pm the day before an auction. It is always best to submit phone bids as early as possible before a sale, as we only have a limited number of phones and staff to execute these bids. Once we have reached our limit we are unable to accept any more phone bids, and at that time you may leave Absentee Bids. The Phone Bid Form must be filled out and can be found here, or on our website under ‘Phone Bidding’, you can call our office at 603-675-2549. Please note: a valid credit card will be required to reserve a phone line. This will only be used to pay for your purchase(s) if instructed, or if payment is not received within 30 days of the auction.

All of our on site, in-person auctions allow for preview times, either the day before or the morning of an auction. Previews are a period of time when the public is invited to views the items up for sale prior to the auction. We strongly encourage buyers to take advantage of this oppportunity to come and personally examine items they are interested in. During preview hours our staff is always on hand to answer any questions you might have about the history, value, and condition of items and their sales estimates. When possible we hare happy to accommodate a preview by appointment.

If you are unable to personally attend a preview, please email or call us about items you are interested in. We are happy to provide a condition report by email, or answer your questions about estimate and condition by phone, or Face Time.

Hammer Price

The hammer price at auction is the price the auctioneer announces as the sold price, or when the "hammer falls." For instance, "Sold! For $1,000 to buyer number 18" would imply a hammer price of $1,000.

Once we declare that an item is sold, we cannot reopen the bidding. It is the bidder's responsibility to get our attention prior to our saying "sold." We reserve the right to reject any bids deemed inappropriate or to withdraw any item(s) for lack of appropriate bids. If an item is withdrawn from the auction it will be offered again only at the auctioneer's discretion.

Buyer's Premium

The buyer's premium is a charge in addition to the hammer price of an auction item, or lot. The winning bidder is required to pay both the hammer price plus the buyers premium, which is percentage determined by the auction gallery. Unless otherwise specified in the terms for a specific auction, buyers premium is 20% for in-person, phone, and absentee bids, 25% for 3rd party online bidding platforms, and a 3% surcharge for any payment made by credit card.

Payment & Payment Methods

We accept cash, check, American Express, Visa and Mastercard. Successful bidders are expected to pay for purchases within 7 days of the auction date, the auctioneer reserves the right to charge ones credit card on file anytime after 10 days. Late fees and penalties will apply after 14 days of the sale date.

If purchases are made by Phone, Absentee/Left Bid, our office will contact you to arrange payment, pick up and/or delivery. All items must be paid in full prior to being removed from the premises or being shipped.

Caveat Emptor

All items are sold as is, where is, with all faults. There are no warranties of any kind, express or implied, so it is very important that buyers inform themselves about the condition of the item before they bid. All items are available for your examination prior to bidding. Your bidding will signify that you have examined the items as fully as you desire, or that you have chosen not to examine them. Written and oral descriptions are our opinions and should in no way be construed as a guarantee of any kind as to age, condition, materials or any other feature of items being sold. Our goal is to provide prospective bidders with accurate and detailed information to the best of our knowledge. If you require absolute certainty in all areas of authenticity, and the results of your evaluation leave uncertainty in your mind, we recommend you not bid on the item in question. We do not give refunds. All sales are final.

All merchandise purchased at a Live auction is expected to be removed from the premises on the day of the auction. For Online Timed Sales, pick up dates and times are noted and all purchases are required to be picked up at those prescribed times. For all other types of sales all purchases should be picked up the next business day after the auction. It is advised to call the office at (603) 675-2549 to confirm an appointment outside of those dates/times.

Smith's does not not provide shipping. Shipping is the responsibility of the buyer, upon request we can recommend a third part shipper who buyers can work with to have their purchases shipped, and can recommend several pad wrap trucking services for your larger purchases.

Expediting removal of sold property is essential, Smith's expects all property to be removed within 30 days of the auction, or a storage account to be set up past 30 days. Any property left past 30 days without a Smith’s storage account in place will be deemed abandoned and forfeited.

Smith's Storage is available for a fee, for items not removed within 30 days of the auction date. It is the responsibility of the buyer to contact Smith’s Storage at to arrange storage of their item(s) and arrange for payment. Any items not picked up or shipped within 30 days, for which Smith’s Storage has not been arranged will be deemed abandoned and therefore forfeited along with moneys paid for said item(s).

IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS FOR BIDDERS NOT ATTENDING AUCTIONS IN PERSON: Please be advised that our terms and conditions are very clear that bidding via internet poses certain risks due to the possibility of technological or human error and that bidders who are very interested in winning a specific item are encouraged to attend in person or submit an absentee bid in advance directly to our auction house. We are not responsible for instances in which a bidder using an internet platform to bid on an item fails to win that item. As our terms and conditions state, “In-house bidders are most assured of having their bids recognized; absentee bids are second, then phone and internet bids. So, if it is imperative for one to successfully purchase a lot, then attending the auction is strongly advised.” The last thing we want is unhappy bidders, so please consider how badly you wish to be the successful bidder on a given item in our auctions when you decide how to bid.

There may be delays beyond our control receiving and processing internet bids, which creates potential for error and missed bids. Additionally, third party bidding platforms are operated manually during Live Auctions, creating the potential for both technological and human error. Due to the potential for error via any delay caused by internet connectivity or the interface between bidding platforms and the use to the internet to bid as well as due to the possibility of human error, we highly recommend that if a bidder cannot be present at an auction to bid live, that they leave their bids with us In-House, via an Absentee Bid or a Phone Bid.

Rule of Thumb

In-House bidders are the most assured of having their bids recognized, in-house absentee bids and in-house phone bidding are the second best options. With internet bidding being the last option, as this is the option we have the least control over, and has the most potential for error. So, if it is imperative for one to attempt to successfully purchase as lot, then attending the auction, or bidding directly through our gallery via Phone or Absentee bidding, is very strongly advised.

If online bidding is your only option, leaving an online backup absentee bid prior to the start of the auction is the most secure way to bid online. Although because this is an online internet bid there is potential for delays and errors once the auction goes live. Online absentee bid amounts are unknown to the Auction House, and are implemented via the online platform software as needed to compete against other online absentee bids, until the live auction begins.

Once the live auction begins, online absentee bids, and live online bids, are then implemented manually, until either the left bid amount is surpassed or all other bidding ends and the lot is won for the increment at the time all other bidding ends. For online absentee bids this can be at your maximum bid amount or below it. As noted above, online absentee bids, and online live bids, do create a risk that the bidder will be unsuccessful even if they believe their bid is the highest or the winning bid, due to the potential of failure of the various digital platforms to properly or timely interface, and/or the speed at which operators must act to try to make sure an online absentee bid, or live online bid, is brought to the attention of the auctioneer, before the bidding on an item is closed by the auctioneer.