Auction FAQ | What is a Buyer's Premium?

Auction Industry FAQ

What is a buyer's premium?

A buyer's premium is a percentage-based fee added to the winning item price. This helps cover the auctioneer’s expenses and administrative costs . The larger auction houses in major cities sometimes charge up to a 30% buyer's premium. Bidders may also be charged sales tax (depending on regulations of the individual state where the auction is held) on this additional fee.

Here is an example ... If you won an auction lot with a 15% buyer’s premium and 5% state sales tax (the buyer’s premium is often taxed, but laws vary by state) here’s how it would work out:

Item Price $100.00

Buyer’s Premium (15%) $15.00

State Sales Tax (7%) $7.00

Credit Card Fee (3%) $3.66


You should note that buyer’s premiums vary depending on the individual auctioneer. Please be sure to read the terms for each individual sale. If you have questions about the buyer’s premium, please contact us.

What is an absolute auction?

An absolute auction is a sale without a reserve price. For example, in an absolute auction, a wine refrigerator could end up selling at $1 because there was only one bidder bidding on that lot in the absolute auction.

What is a reserve?

A reserve price sets a minimum required bid for the item to be sold. In many traditional auctions, reserves are undisclosed (the bidders have no idea what the reserve price may be -- a blind reserve).


What is extended bidding?

Our auction platform features extended bidding (a.k.a. "soft closing"). The system will automatically extend the closing time of a lot (auction item) whenever a bid is placed within the last five minutes of its scheduled closing. This may occur multiple times on any given lot depending on the bidder interest in that lot. Once all interest and bidding in a lot ceases the clock will run out and the lot will close.

This is the fairest way to prevent “bid sniping” (someone submitting a high bid in the last seconds of any given lot’s closing in order to win said lot) and to give all bidders an opportunity to increase their bids if they wish. It is also the closest way to mimic a live, in-person auction, when the auctioneer gives bidders opportunities to increase their bids if someone jumps into the bidding at the last moment before hammering the winning bid. 

Sometimes I am immediately outbid. Why?

Because all maximum bids are "masked" (hidden from other bidders), you do not know what any other bidder's maximum bid may be or when they placed it. Sometimes you will be outbid as soon as you enter your bid. This only occurs when another bidder had a higher maximum bid than yours already "on the board". The other bidder may have placed their max bid days, hours, or mere moments before you placed yours. 

However, if you place a bid and there are no competing bids against your bid, the system WILL NOT immediately go to your maximum bid. In fact, if you are the only bidder by the time the lot closes, you will win the lot for the lowest possible dollar amount (based on whatever the opening bid was for that item), not your max bid. So, if you place a max bid of $25 on a lot with an opening bid of $1 and there are no other bidders bidding for that lot, you will win it for $1. NOTE: This only happens when there are no competing bids.


Can I pay by cash or check at pick-up?

In order to keep things uncomplicated for sellers and bidders, the only method of payment accepted is a card via auto-debit at the close of the auction. This makes it easy for bidders to simply show-up at the designated location and pick-up their items. It also is safer and more secure for our auctioneers/sellers who, otherwise would be concerned about holding large sums of cash on hand.

Do you ship?

All large items are local pick up on pick up day of sale. You are required to make an appointment. Please see details on home page of each sale. We can ship smaller items. Contact us at if you need a shipping rate. Please include your name, address, & lot # at least a day before the close of the auction. That way we have time to get back with you. Only serious bidders please.

I won an item in an auction, what now?

Within two hours of the close of the entire auction your credit card on file will be charged for the entire amount due (item price + sales tax + buyer's premium). The charges are not processed until the entire auction closes. You will also receive a winning bidder email (Check Spam Folder) which will list your invoice (what item(s) you won, the item price, sales tax, and buyer's premium) and all necessary pick-up instructions. Note the pick-up instructions are also always viewable on the auction home page. Any questions about the auction results and/or pick-up instructions should be directed to Estate Rescue Queens, LLC (details for the seller may be found on the auction home page).

I won some items. Where do I pick them up?

The individual auction will feature pick-up details on the home page for each of their auctions. Sometimes, in the case of a residential estate location, the actual address will be included in the winning email (not included on the home page) which is sent to the email address on file with your account. Please be sure to read the auction terms for each auction before bidding, to make sure that you are available to pick-up your items during the designated dates/times.