Market News

Sotheby’s to Raise Buyer’s Premiums



On February 1, Sotheby’s will raise its buyer’s premiums, according to an 8-K Securities and Exchange Commission form filed yesterday.

The form reads:

Effective February 1, 2015, Sotheby’s (the “Company”) will enact a new buyer’s premium rate structure. Generally, the new rate structure will be 25% on the first $200,000 of hammer (sale) price; 20% on the portion of hammer (sale) price above $200,000 up to and including $3 million; and 12% on any remaining amount above $3 million. The hammer (sale) price thresholds
in other currencies will be adjusted in a commensurate manner.

The old rates date back to March 2013, when both Christie’s and Sotheby’s raised rates from 25 percent for the first $50,000, 20 percent from there to $1 million and then 12 percent for above that. Since then they have charged 25 percent for the first $100,000 at Sotheby’s, 20 percent to $2 million and 12 percent for all sums above $2 million, while Christie’s has charged the same percentages for $75,000, $1.5 million, and then beyond, respectively.

In this way the change keeps with the trend of essentially raising the point at which a buyer gets a discount for a higher price. A spokeswoman for the company said the change will affect “about 12% of the lots sold at Sotheby’s, with price per lot increases ranging from 0% to a maximum of 2.4%.”

“This will improve Sotheby’s revenue,” outgoing CEO William Ruprecht said in a statement, “strengthen the Company’s profit margins, fund innovation, help us continue to make interesting and exciting investments in the business, and support our growing online and traditional engagement with clients around the world.”

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