Auctioneers & Appraisers of fine arts & antiques since 1961

Terms & Conditions

Unless otherwise specified for a given auction, these are the terms for auctions at W. A. Smith's Auction Gallery



Auction Ninja



Auction Ninja


In Person & 
Absentee Bidding

18% cash or check +

3% for credit cards

Phone Bidding

18% cash or check +

3% for credit cards


Auction Ninja



Auction Ninja


SmithLive Online

18% cash or check +

3% for credit cards

LiveAuctioneers & 
Other 3rd Party Platforms

23% cash or check +

3% for credit cards

In Person Bidding

Bidding in person, the tried and true traditional method of bidding in the salesroom, is the most exciting and effective way to participate in an auction. To do this, register for a bidder number with our staff when you arrive at the gallery. You will need to present a photo ID and contact information.

Once the sale begins the auctioneer will announce each lot for sale and open the bidding from live bidders in the gallery. To bid, simply raise your bid number for the auctioneer to recognize your bid. The bidding progresses in sequentially higher increments. Once bidding stops, the auctioneer will declare the item sold and ask for the bidder number of the successful bidder on the lot.

Absentee Bidding

Also known as a "left bid": With your signed permission we can act as your representative and bid on items for you. Follow the links on the item of interest, inquire with any questions you may have, and then complete the left bid process to leave your maximum price limit bid for the item. You will receive an email confirmation of your bid. On the day of auction, Smith's will then submit your bids to our Absentee Bid system.

If you prefer not to use the online left bid system, please contact us to have an absentee bid form faxed to you.

At Smiths we competitively bid on your behalf. This means that your absentee/left bid is NOT used as a starting bid by our gallery. Your bid is excecuted live by a member of our staff, bidding actively in the gallery against live and phone bidding. We will enter the bidding competitively and you will either be outbid or, if all other bidders drop out before, or at your maximum bid, you will be the successful bidder at the next increment. So, you always have the opportunity to win the lot for less than your absentee/left bid.

In the event that your bid is the active bid at your maximum Absentee/Left bid, you are the successful bidder for that amount. Please remember to take into account the Buyers Premium, which is added to the hammer price, when leaving an Absentee/left bid.

In the event that we receive identical Absentee/left bids on an item, preference is give to the bid that was received first.

Complete our Bid Form, or use the link on the lots on our website to submit your information including your price limit for any specific lot. This should be the maximum hammer price you're prepared to pay, remembering to take into account the additional buyer's premium. You will be required to provide your credit/debit card details, proof of identity and residence if you are registering for the sale. If we receive two bids of equal value, preference is given to the bid that arrives first.

A representative from Smith's will contact you by phone to confirm your bid, and will mail out an invoice following the auction if you bid is successful.

Phone Bidding

Clients unable to attend an auction can participate in live bidding on the phone by registering for a Phone Bid. Unlike an Absentee/Left Bid, Phone Bidding allows you to place your own bids live, in real time, via a staff member who is in the auction gallery. This is done as a convenience to our customers, and we make every effort to reach you and to do our best to actively execute your bids.

Phone Bid lines are limited and therefore accepted on a first come, first serve basis, and accepted only until 5pm the day prior to the auction.


All of our on site, in-person auctions allow for preview times, either the day before or the morning of an auction. Previews are a period of time when the public is invited to views the items up for sale prior to the auction. We strongly encourage buyers to take advantage of this oppportunity to come and personally examine items they are interested in. During preview hours our staff is always on hand to answer any questions you might have about the history, value, and condition of items and their sales estimates. When possible we hare happy to accommodate a preview by appointment.

If you are unable to personally attend a preview, please email us about items you are interested in. We are happy to provide a condition report by email, or answer your questions about estimate and condition by phone.

Price, Payment & Buyer's Premiums

Hammer Price

The hammer price at auction is the price the auctioneer announces as the sold price, or when the "hammer falls." For instance, "Sold! For $1,000 to buyer number 18" would imply a hammer price of $1,000.

Once we declare that an item is sold, we cannot reopen the bidding. It is the bidder's responsibility to get our attention prior to our saying "sold." We reserve the right to reject any bids deemed inappropriate or to withdraw any item(s) for lack of appropriate bids. If an item is withdrawn from the auction it will be offered again only at the auctioneer's discretion.


Buyer's Premium

The buyer's premium is a charge in addition to the hammer price of an auction item, or lot. The winning bidder is required to pay both the hammer price plus the buyers premium, which is percentage determined by the auction gallery. Unless otherwise specified in the terms for a specific auction, buyers premium is 18% for in-person, phone, and absentee bids, 23% for 3rd party online bidding platforms, and a 3% surcharge for any payment made by credit card.


Payment & Payment Methods

We accept cash, check, American Express, Visa and Mastercard. Successful bidders are expected to pay for purchases within 10 days of the auction date, the auctioneer reserves the right to charge ones credit card on file anytime after 10 days. If an account exceed 30 days unpaid on the 31 st day a 2% monthly surcharge will applied to ones outstanding balance with compounding interest.

If purchases are made by Phone, Absentee/Left Bid, our office will contact you to arrange payment, pick up and/or delivery. All items must be paid in full prior to being removed from the premises or being shipped.


Caveat Emptor

All items are sold as is, where is, with all faults. There are no warranties of any kind, express or implied, so it is very important that buyers inform themselves about the condition of the item before they bid. All items are available for your examination prior to bidding. Your bidding will signify that you have examined the items as fully as you desire, or that you have chosen not to examine them. Written and oral descriptions are our opinions and should in no way be construed as a guarantee of any kind as to age, condition, materials or any other feature of items being sold. Our goal is to provide prospective bidders with accurate and detailed information to the best of our knowledge. If you require absolute certainty in all areas of authenticity, and the results of your evaluation leave uncertainty in your mind, we recommend you not bid on the item in question. We do not give refunds. All sales are final.

Shipping and Storage


Smith auctions can assist a buyer with shipping, a certified local UPS pack and ship is our shipper of choice for smaller items, larger pieces can be stored until arrangements are made or one can request a quote for New England deliveries via Walts delivery service, a local pad wrap shipper used by Smiths.

We have many delivery options available to our customers. Please call our office in Plainfield at 603.675.2549 to discuss our recommendations. Once payment is received, we are happy to store your items on site at our Gallery in Plainfield, NH for up to 30 days at no charge. After 30 days you will be contacted to discuss further storage options.

Note for Internet Bidders

There are at times a delay with internet bids, we suggest a bidder leave a back up absentee bid online to insure one doesn't loose out, (as our auctioneers sells 80 lots per hour) absentee bid amounts are unknown to the auctioneer and are implemented as needed until the it exceeds all other bids and the lot will be won for that amount or until amount is exhausted and the lot sells above your bid to another buyer.

Rule of Thumb

In-house bidders are most assured of having their bids recognized; absentee bids are second, then phone and internet bids. So, if it is imperative for one to successfully purchase a lot, then attending the auction is strongly advised.