Christie’s to Raise Buyer’s Premium Again, Barely One Year Since Its Last Increase

For all Christie’s clients, please make sure you are financially well-prepared for the coming autumn auction. Christie’s has announced that it will raise its buyer’s premium again, effective on 11 September - roughly one year after its last adjustment in September last year. The Shanghai sale site is the only one that still maintaining the 20% charges for all price ranges.

The Value has created a series of tables showing the changes in buyer’s premium, for hammer prices of $50,000, $500,000, $5m and $50m (based on local currency) respectively. We have also selected a few lots from the recent spring sales in three main auction sites – Hong Kong, New York and London to see how buyer’s premium would be affected under the new structure.

The first example is a gilt-bronze and silver-inlaid seated figure of Buddha Shakyamuni from Tibet in the 13th – 14th century, which was sold at Christie’s Hong Kong. It was knocked down at HK$44m (US$ 5.62m) and the buyer’s premium was HK$6.94m (US$890,000). Under the new pricing policy, the buyer’s premium is HK$7.85m (US$1m) so there is a difference of HK$910,000 (US$116,300)

The second example is Southern Song painter Chen Rong’s Six Dragons, from the collection of the Fujita Museum, at Christie’s New York. It was knocked down at US$43,500,000 and the buyer’s premium was US$5,467,500. The new buyer’s premium is US$5,750,000 for this piece and that is an increase of $US$282,500.

Lastly, it is a pair of famille rose ‘butterfly’ double-gourd vases of the Qianlong reign from Christie’s London. The vases were knocked down at £1,300,000. It now requires £1,858,750 for new buyer’s premium, a £133,750 increase compared with the old premium £1,725,000.