Advance / Maximum bid

A maximum bid can be placed at a live online auction which will be executed on your behalf in response to any other bids placed on the lot automaticaly by the system (also known as proxy bidding). Upon the start of the live auction, if your maximum bid has not yet been met, the auctioneer will execute through the automatic system the bid on your behalf at the lowest price possible and never for more than the maximum bid amount you indicate.


A formal evaluation of the fair market and/or insurance value of a given property. Fair market value represents what Peter’s Gallery believes an item would bring at auction. Insurance value reflects what we believe it would cost to replace an item. Our appraisals are conducted by comparing your piece with similar, recently sold works, but no appraisal is definitive. 

As Is

Peter’s Gallery offers all property for sale at auction “as is,” meaning that the property is sold with all existing faults and imperfections. We encourage potential buyers to inspect each item carefully before bidding.


A trained professional who presides over the auction, initiating the sale of a lot by describing the item and starting the bidding. Once the first bid is made, others may offer higher bids. Bidders may be present in a saleroom, on the phone or online. Auctioneers also place bids on behalf of absentee bidders and finally determine when the highest bid has been made. If a work sells, the auctioneer announces, “sold” and in case of online auctions the system posts the lot as “won.” If the item does not meet its reserve or there are no bidders, the auctioneer signifies this with a “pass” or the system posts the closed lot as “no bids.”



The amount a prospective buyer signals the auctioneer or bids online that he/she would pay to buy the lot during bidding.

Bid Increment

The amount by which the auctioneer increases the bidding. In general, the auctioneer will request bids of about 10% higher than the previous bid. For instance, if the bidding oppens ≤€999, subsequent bids of a minimum €50 would be increased. For >€1,000 – €1,999 min increase €100, for >€2,000 – €4,999 min increase €200, for >€5,000 – €19,999 min increase €500 would follow. 


If there are no bids on a lot, or if bidding does not reach the reserve price, the lot is “bought in,” meaning it is left unsold and remains the property of the owner.

Buyer’s Premium

The amount above the hammer price that is paid as part of the total purchase price. 



Factual information about a lot offered for sale, such as the name of the artist or maker, a detailed description of the object, the year of its creation, its provenance (history of its ownership), major exhibitions in which it has appeared and publications in which it has been documented. This information is published in the auction catalogue, in both the print and online editions.


A written description of the condition of a work, prepared by Peter’s Gallery specialists prior to an auction.


The owner who is transferring property to Peter’s Gallery to act as agent on his or her behalf for sale.


Estimated value

Each lot is given a low and high estimate, representing the opinion of Peter’s Gallery experts about the range in which the lot might sell at auction. Estimates are based on the examination of an item and recent auction records of comparable pieces. Published in our online and printed catalogue, an estimate provides prospective buyers with an important preliminary guide to value and is generally the basis for establishing the reserve price.

Exhibition History

A listing of museum or gallery exhibitions in which a given lot has appeared. Inclusion in important exhibitions may impact the value of the object.


Fair Market Value

A term frequently used by appraisers referring to their judgment and opinion about an object’s likely sale price if offered by a willing seller to a willing buyer. Since the auction process is open to all bidders, a sale at auction is considered to be a measure of Fair Market Value.

Fair Warning

A warning sometimes given by the auctioneer that the hammer is about to come down on a lot. The fair warning offers one last chance to increase the bidding. If there are no subsequent bids, the auctioneer’s hammer falls and the sale is completed.


Hammer Price

The winning bid for a lot at auction. It is the price upon which the auctioneer’s hammer falls, determining the sale price, but does not include the buyer’s premium.



An individual object or group of objects offered for sale at auction as a single unit.


Maximum Bid

A maximum bid is the highest amount you would like to bid for a lot. It will be executed by Peter’s Gallery at the lowest price possible, and never for more than the maximum bid amount you indicate. Please note that if two clients enter the same maximum bid, the bid which was entered first will have priority.



An object displaying the number assigned to a bidder when he or she registers at the auction. To place a bid, simply raise your paddle until the auctioneer acknowledges you. If you win the auction, your paddle number is recorded alongside your bid. To pay for your purchase, you will need to bring your paddle to the Payments counter.


Terms used by the auctioneer when an item fails to reach its reserve at auction.

Presale Exhibition

With specialists on-hand to answer all questions, Peter’s Gallery puts every lot from its sales on public display in the days before an auction. Exhibitions are free and open to the public and generally close at 1 pm the day before the auction. Please see our Auctions section for dates, times and locations.


An important part of the authentication process, provenance establishes the chain of ownership back (if possible) to the date an item was created. Provenance can significantly impact the value of an object.

Proxy Bidding

Proxy bidding refers basically to automatic bidding. In an auction, when you place a bid and another user outbids you, you need to again come back and bid higher in order to remain the highest bidder. To avoid coming back and bid manually, you can use automatic bidding which bids on behalf of you when someone outbids you. You can initially enter maximum amount you are comfortable with, then Peter’s Gallery will bid on your behalf  untill that maximum amount is reached. Watch the video on how to register and bid on our online auctions site.



Reserve or Reserve Price

Never formally disclosed, the reserve price is the confidential minimum price agreed upon between the consignor and Peter’s Gallery. Reserves must be set at or below the low estimate, and if bidding ends before the reserve is reached, the property will not be sold.


Immediately following every auction, results are posted online in the currency of the auction location. Customarily, results include the hammer price plus the buyer’s premium and overhead premium.



Every item at Peter’s Gallery is given a stock keeping unit number to distinguish it from previous and subsequent sales of similar items. The sale number appears in every e-catalogue and on the cover of print catalogues, among other places.

Seller’s Commission

A commission paid by the consignor to Peter’s Gallery, which is deducted from the hammer price. For most auctions Peter’s Gallery’s standard seller’s commission is 10% of the hammer price.

Starting Bids

Each lot has a starting bid, which is the lowest possible bid you can place on a lot. You may bid at or above the starting bid (see above for how to place a Maximum Bid). Please note that leaving a bid at the starting bid may not necessarily mean you have met the reserve, though you will be notified if you are the leading bidder or have been outbid. Please note that Peter’s Gallery reserves the right to lower the starting bid prior to the start of the live and online auction.


Telephone Bidding

Many buyers prefer to bid via phone, using a Peter’s Gallery representative who is present at the auction to relay bids to the auctioneer on their behalf.



A detailed description and current value of property prepared by Peter’s Gallery staff. Valuations, which differ from auction estimates, are used for a variety of needs, including charitable contribution, collateral loans, estate taxes, estate planning and insurance.


Symbols Definition

All symbols can be found under the Lot’s title.


#  The hash symbol means VAT applies only to buyer’s premium.

♦︎  The diamond symbol means VAT applies to hammer price and buyer’s premium.

△  The triangle symbol means there is no reserve price in place.

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