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

18% cash or check +
5% for credit cards

Bidding in person, the tried and true traditional method of bidding in the salesroom, is the most exciting and effective way to participate in an auction. To do this, register for a bidder number with our staff when you arrive at the gallery. You will need to present a photo ID and contact information.

Once the sale begins the auctioneer will announce each lot for sale and open the bidding from live bidders in the gallery. To bid, simply raise your bid number for the auctioneer to recognize your bid. The bidding progresses in sequentially higher increments. Once 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 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.

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 18% for in-person, phone, and absentee bids, 23% 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).

There are at times a delay with internet bids, we suggest a bidder leave a back up absentee bid online to insure one doesn't loose out, (as our auctioneers sells 80 lots per hour) absentee bid amounts are unknown to the auctioneer and are implemented as needed until the it exceeds all other bids and the lot will be won for that amount or until amount is exhausted and the lot sells above your bid to another buyer.

Rule of Thumb

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.