Auction Glossary

A list of defined terms to help you pre-sale, post sale, and during the auction.  




'As is'

A piece's present condition. See ‘condition report.’


Absentee Bid (also Commission Bid)

A bid/bids executed by the auctioneer on behalf of a client, according to a maximum amount specified by the bidder prior to the auction. Absentee bids on lots can be submitted via our website up to 24 hours in advance of the auction and through Freeman's Live on the day of sale. 


Bidding Increment

A pre-determined amount by which a bid will be raised each time the current bid is outdone. 

Freeman's Standard Bidding Increments
$25 until $500 is reached
$50 until $1,000 is reached
$100 until $2,000 is reached
$200 until $3,000 is reached
$250 until $5,000 is reached
$500 until $10,000 is reached
$1,000 until $20,000 is reached
$2,000 until $30,000 is reached
$2,500 until $50,000 is reached
$5,000 until $100,000 is reached
Over $100,000 auctioneer’s discretion


Buyer’s Premium

A Buyer’s Premium will be added to the successful bid price and is payable by the buyer as part of the total purchase price. The Buyer’s Premium shall be: 26% on the first $600,000 of the hammer price of each lot, 20% on the portion from $600,001 through $3,000,000 and 12% thereafter.


Condition Report

A specialist's written detailed report of a lot's present condition available upon request. If a condition report has already been prepared and is available for viewing, they can be located on an individual lot page in the bottom tab labeled 'Condition Report'. Accompanying images can also be requested. 


Consignment Agreement

A legal contract drawn up between the consignor and vendor outlining the terms of sale and any associated fees, including seller's commmission.



An expert’s valuation of an item's possible selling price at auction, presented as a monetary range. Preliminary estimates are generally set at the time of consignment and are subject to revision pending further research and firsthand inspection. Pre-sale estimates are determined according to an item's rarity, provenance, and condition, and reflect current market trends and recent auction results for comparable items.  The final selling price may be higher or lower than this band depending on demand.


Hammer Price

The price at which an item is sold at auction and announced by the auctioneer as he lowers his gavel. Applicable fees such as buyer's premium and sales tax are added to this amount when totaling a buyer's invoice.



An item's previous ownership or place/source of origin that describes its history. If an object's provenance is significant, worthy of note, and able to be publically disclosed, it is included in the lot description. 


Price Realized

The price an items sells for, totaling the hammer price and the buyer's premium. 



A reserve price is an optional feature used by consignors to allow them to retain an individual item if bidding does not reach their desired minimum price. Reserves cannot exceed the low estimate and are not applied to items valued at less than $500.


Telephone Bid

A bid executed by a member of Freeman's staff during live lot bidding on behalf of a client via telephone.