Ever participated in an art auction?

I’ve had a notifier thingie going on since our trip to Italy last April for when a certain artist’s work comes up for sale, and yesterday one that I am actually interested in came up in my notifications. It is going on auction in a few days. This is an artist whose better-known works have gone for 5 to 6 figures; this one they are estimating at 2-3,000 euros. I could actually afford that, although it might give my fund manager a small cardial infarction.

The auction is being held in Rome, so I suppose I would be attending by telephone? Do they still do that? Although it also looks like I can bid online, but I don’t know how that would work in real time - there appears to be a link to listen to the auction, but I don’t know if it would be in English. Payment is by wire transfer, which I assume my credit union could handle. Provenance seems OK. The selling house is called “invaluable.” The work is tempera on paper applied on panel, rather small, and framed.

They are charging a buyer’s premium of 29%, which seems ridiculously high. Anyone know if that is in the ballpark of normal for art auctions? Other types of auctions seem to max out at 15%, based on what I could find on Google. I presume I would also be paying for shipping and insurance.

Experiences, anyone?

I participated in a number of art auctions on a cruise ship years ago; I got some very nice Dali lithographs (signed in the block) and a few other pieces all for reasonable prices (if it was too expensive I simply stopped bidding).

I don’t recall a “buyer’s premium”; I’m not sure what that even is. I’d tell them to fuck off: I’m not paying 30% over what I bid “because art”. Or just figure that into what you want to spend and bid accordingly. Really, tho, I’d just tell them to fuck off with that.

The buyer’s premium is like a commission for the auction house; it’s there (along with the seller’s commission) to defray their costs and give them some incentive for doing this business, i.e. a profit. I can either pay it or not participate. I don’t think they’re going to care much about any “fuck off” that I might send them.

I am curious if the percentage is out of line; if it is, I will turn off my notifications from them and not expect to participate in any of their auctions.

Sotheby’s is 25% up to $300,000 and declines thereafter to 12.9% for purchases over $4,000,000.

I see 10% on a few places. 12% and 15% on others. 29% is the highest figure I see anywhere for any kind of auction, tho.