Buying at Auction

Spink auctions are an exciting way to purchase stamps, coins, banknotes, medals, bonds and shares, autographs, books, spirits, books and handbags from around the world. There are different ways to participate in Spink auctions. Here are some basic tips to help you.

For bidding enquiries and sale results depending on the location of the sale please contact:

Spink UK

[email protected]

+44 (0)207 563 4005 / 4108

Spink USA

[email protected]

+1 646 941 8664

Spink Switzerland

[email protected]

+41 91 911 6200

Spink China

[email protected]

+852 3952 3032

Spink Singapore

[email protected]

+44 (0)207 563 4005 / 4108 +852 3952 3032


Our illustrated catalogues are invaluable for clients wishing to buy at Spink. Available usually two weeks before the sale, they contain descriptions of the items that are being sold, along with estimates, with most items being photographed. Our catalogues can also tell you if an item has previously been exhibited or appeared in a publication, or collection - known as 'provenance'. Spink catalogues are meticulously researched and are a permanent reference source for collectors. For prices and subscription queries please email [email protected] or directly phone the relevant office. Please note that not all of our auctions have printed catalogues.


Every item coming up for timed-then-live (room) auctions goes on display for several days before a sale. Viewing times for each sale can be found on the auction page (on spink.coma nd also on SpinkLive) abd in the front of the relevant catalogue if available. We invite you to come in, browse the lots and meet Spink's specialists, who will be happy to discuss the quality, background and condition of any item. These pre-sale viewings are free and open to the public, as are all of Spink's auctions.

If you cannot examine lots personally, we can provide a condition report in writing or over the telephone. Alternatively you can engage a third party/agent to do so on your behalf.

Bidding in Timed-then-Live sales

Before you bid, please read the Terms and Conditions for Buyers here

If you are a new client to us, in order to open an account for you, we would ask you to provide bank and trade references in advance. We reserve the right to require a deposit before your first purchase.

Please note that some lots may be designated prior to the sale as "Premium Lots" which means a deposit may be required before placing a bid.

Should you wish to obtain an expert opinion or Certificate of Authenticity on any philatelic lot (other than a mixed lot or a lot containing undescribed stamps), we require notification forty-eight hours before commencement of the sale.

You can bid via the following methods:

1) Bidding in person
On the day of the sale, follow the signs for 'registration'. To register to bid, you will be asked to complete a registration form with your name and address, and we will then give you a paddle with your bidder number.

To avoid delays, you can also register before the sale, contacting us on the telephone numbers and emails addresses listed above.

The auctioneer will start the sale, offering the lots in lot number order. The opening bid for any lot is usually below the low estimate. If there are two or more commission or postal bids on the auctioneer's book, the bidding may open higher than the estimates in order to eliminate the 'under bidder'. The auctioneer calls out the bids as he accepts them.

When you wish to bid, you should raise your paddle and wait for the auctioneer to acknowledge you. If anyone else wishes to acquire the lot, they will bid against you by the same means. The auctioneer will continue taking bids of increasing amounts from each interested party until all but one person drops out. This final bidder is the successful buyer and the auctioneer indicates that the lot is sold by hitting his gavel (hammer) on the rostrum and declaring the final hammer price. If bidding fails to reach the reserve price (the minimum price the seller is prepared to accept), the item is unsold and the auctioneer will move on to the next lot.

2) Bidding via an agent
Should you not be able to attend the sale in person you can engage an agent or the third party to do so on your behalf. The third party should be able to present us with authorisation that they can bid on your behalf.

3) Written Commission Bids

For sending bids to us by post, fax or email, please use the bid form that is published in each printed catalogue and also at the back of each e-catalogue. All you have to do is decide on your maximum bid for a particular lot and then send it to us, so we receive it at least 24 hours before the auction. We will then try to obtain the item for you at the lowest possible price.3)

4.) Online Commission Bids
We also accept commission bids submitted through the website. Once you have registered and have received your client number, you can use this number together with your password to log in to the site. Then, simply browse the relevant online current auction catalogue and place your commission bids by clicking on the BID button next to each auction lot. The bid form page will then open, where you can enter your commission bid - in multiples of 10 only.

If you would like to bid on a number of lots without clicking into each individual lot, you can use the Multiple bids button.

Once we have accepted your bids we will send you a confirmation by email. Please note that we can only send confirmations during our normal office hours, Monday to Friday, so there may be a slight delay. The email confirmation from Auction Team will confirm your commission bid(s) and that they will be executed by the Auctioneer as 'floor' bid. You can access all commission bids that you have placed via My Spink - My Commission Bids.

(Please do not duplicate bids by submitting autobids on the same lots on Spink Live. Such autobids are executed by the software on your behalf and are accessible under My Bids on Spink Live)

Adding more bids, changing already submitted bids, or cancelling bids can be done on our website up to 3 hours before the commencement of the sale. To increase or decrease a bid please submit a new bid on the same lot. To cancel a bid, please go to the lot and click on the UNBID button.

If it is less than 3 hours until the commencement of the sale, for any changes to your bids, please contact the relevant office where the sale is taking place.

NB: in case of equal bids, commission bids that are operated by the Auctioneer will take precedence over SpinkLive autobids.

5) Online autobids on Spink Live
You can also place autobids for our auctions at the following link
Such bids are executed by the Spink Live software automatically, there is no email confirmation from Auction Team. You can follow the bidding progress even before the live auction.

Placed autobids are legally binding and cannot be cancelled or decreased. Bidders are responsible for errors in bidding.

NB: in case of equal bids, commission bids that are operated by the Auctioneer will take precedence over SpinkLive autobids.

For bidding instructions for Timed then Live sales please click here

6) Bidding by telephone
If you prefer to experience bidding as if you are in the room, even if you are miles away, you can bid by telephone. To arrange telephone bidding, simply contact us at least one day before the auction. One of our members of staff will call you during the sale and will relay your bids to the auctioneer. This service is provided at Spink's discretion, normally free of charge, but is usually only available for lots with a minimum low estimate of £1,000 or equivalent in other currencies.

7) Live on-line bidding
You can participate at our auctions live via our Spink Live bidding facility. You need to be registered on our website. Please use your client number and password to log into our website, then click on the Spink Live button on the home page and go to the relevant sale. Then select if you would like to bid live or view live. For just watching the sale you do not need to be registered or logged into our website.

Both screens have an audio/video feed.

Bidding in e-Auctions

For bidding instruction, please click here.

1. Select the lot you would like to bid on and place a bid equal to a minimum bid or a higher bid from the list of increments.

2. You could also place your maximum bid and the software will bid on your behalf increasing the price in increments to keep you in the lead up to your maximum bid.

3. Should your bid be outbid you will receive an email notification which will give you an option to increase your bid before the closing time.

4. Closing time of the first lot of this sale is stated in the Auction Details. The subsequent lots will close at 20 second intervals.

5. Please note all bids and any changes must be made online by the client only. Placed autobids are legally binding and cannot be cancelled or decreased. Bidders are responsible for errors in bidding.

6. The highest bid at the closing time will be the successful bid and the price will be the Hammer Price.

7. All lots sold in the e-Auction are subject to charges per section 5 and all clauses of the Terms and Conditions for Buyers (e-Auctions).

8. Invoices will be emailed to buyers after the last lot in the e-Auction has closed. Invoice total will consist of Hammer Price, Buyer's Premium of 20% on Hammer Price, VAT/sales tax, postage, fee for paying by card where applicable.

9. Payments should be made in the currency of the sale within 5 working days from the date of closing the e-Auction. Credit terms do not apply for e-Auctions.

Sale Results

You can obtain sale results on our web site, usually shortly after the conclusion of the sale.


In addition to the Hammer Price, you must pay us the Buyer's premium and also VAT and Import Tax, where applicable. In addition a shipping charge will be added to your invoice if lots are to be sent to you. Full details of charges can be found in the Terms and Conditions for Buyers that are also printed in each catalogue.


Payment should be made by the registered buyer and not by third parties, unless agreed at the time of registration that you are acting as agent on behalf of a third party.

You can pay by bank transfer, cheque, credit/debit card or cash (subject to certain restrictions)

Payment Methods - London (GBP)
Payment Methods - London (EUR)
Payment Methods - London (USD)
Payment Methods - New York
Payment Methods - Hong Kong
Payment Methods - Switzerland
Payment Methods - Singapore

Should you require any assistance with the payment process, please contact the Finance Department of the sale location.

Collection of lots

If you attend the sale in person you can collect your lots on the auction day providing the payment terms have been met. If you are intending to collect your item, please do advise us. Should the collected lots be hand-carried from the European Union to a destination outside of the European Union, appropriate customs form will be prepared for you, if needed.


The standard shipping rates for lots are stated in the Terms and Conditions for Buyers. If the weight or volumetric weight exceeds the standard rate charges, you may incur an extra fee.

Please note it is the responsibility of the buyer to be aware of any import duties that may be incurred, upon importation to the item's final destination and of any restrictions that prohibit the importation of certain collectibles.


Spink is able to arrange long-term storage at competitive prices, should you require it.

Watch an Auction

Feel free to come in and watch a sale! Our auctions are free and open to the public and you will see, first-hand, that the process of buying at auction is very simple. Alternatively you can follow our auctions on Spink Live without having to register.