Art Auction Primer

Auction Terms: K-Z

A-B | C-I

Term Definition
Knocked Down An auction house term for the hammer coming down and ending the bidding, as in, "The lot was knocked down at $1 million."
Lot An individual object or group of objects for sale in an auction. Auction catalogs are arranged by lot number.
Paddle 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.
Pass/Unsold Terms used by the auctioneer when an item fails to reach its reserve at auction.
Price List After a sale is completed, a list of final sale prices for each lot is recorded. The final price is either listed as the Hammer Price or the Price Realized. This price list is then sent to all subscribers of the auction house's catalogs, where the list is attached to the relevant catalog. These lists are also available from the auction house.
Price Realized The complete price a buyer pays for an item. Price Realized includes the Hammer Price, the Buyer's Premium, and any additional fees or taxes. Sometimes the Price Realized is included in auction material and Price Lists.
Provenance Documentation providing the history of the ownership of an item. Often provenance is used to confirm authorship to the date an item was created. Provenance information is often included in the auction catalog. In general terms, provenance can be any information to confirm the authenticity of the item.
Recission rights The right of the auction to rescind a sale and returning the item to the seller and money to the buyer.
Replacement Is the amount it would cost to replace an item with one of similar and like quality purchased in the most appropriate marketplace within a limited amount of time.Also called replacement value.
Resale Rights Royalties that may be paid to living arts for resale of their work. These fees are charged to the buyer of the work.
Reserve Price The minimum selling price for an object/property agreed upon by the consignor and the auction house.
Valuation A description and evaluation of an item which may vary from both estimates and appraisals.
Withdrawal Fee A fee that the auction will charge the consigner if they withdraw an item from a scheduled auction. The fee can be as high as 20% of the average estimate.