HOW AUCTIONS WORK
When selling at auction, you agree to allow the auctioneer to act as your agent. Our job is to realize the highest possible value for your property. In exchange, we retain a percentage of the sale price, a commission. We charge the buyer a commission as well.
In deciding what items to accept for consignment we consider condition, provenance (history of ownership), and current market trends. We hold over 40 auctions per year in a variety of formats. We print full-color catalogs for major auctions, with photographs and scholarly descriptions. Online catalogs (created for all auctions except Discovery) include additional photographs, photo-zoom capabilities and “Bid Now” options.
Our services include photography, marketing, research, catalog description and catalog production. We store and insure your property while under our care, and provide condition reports for interested buyers.
Consignment deadline is 10 weeks before a cataloged auction; 5 weeks before a timed online auction.
After we determine if your property is a good fit, we email or mail an itemized consignment contract specifying the auction date, low-to-high estimate, commission rate and fees.
Once your property arrives at Cowan’s, we prepare it for auction (research, description, and photography). You can follow the progress via a private portal by registering at Cowan’s.
Approximately 7 days before a live auction, your property is displayed in our showroom for potential buyers to examine.
Auction results are available in real time; we also notify you by email.
You will receive a settlement check 45 days after the auction date and the buyer has paid us. The check amount equals the hammer price (highest bid), minus the commission and fees.