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Bidding In Our Sales

As a postal auction all our sales have a defined closing date and time (usually 9pm on the evening of the closing date). All bids, by whichever method they are transmitted must be received prior to this cut off point.   We will entertain bid forms received after the close of sale but only in relation to lots which are unsold.

Please note that we do not levy any form of Buyer's premium, lot handling fees or extra charges of whatever nature. We believe in complete transparency in the bidding process and are utterly opposed to specious revenue raising devices such as the aforementioned. We have no time for systems which can involve bidders paying up to 33% more in addition to their bid figures.   

Entering a bid at auction forms a valid legal contract. We are happy to cancel bids if notification is received prior to the close of the auction, but after the conclusion of the sale, all bids must be honoured in full.


How Much Do I Bid?

The estimated price which we quote in relation each lot is the figure we consider to be the approximate market value of the item in question. We are often asked whether we consider items will sell at higher or lower levels than our estimates. There is really no definitive answer to that question. Over twenty years of trading have repeatedly re-inforced the notion that auctions are a hugely inexact science. It is safe to  say that with the philatelic market currently being buoyant and with the demand for fine and clean material as strong as we can remember, the majority of lots will meet or exceed their estimated price. Bids entered at less than 80% of estimate stand very little chance of success. The 80% figure is our standard reserve price although, depending on our different vendors, it may be higher than that percentage.    


How Are Winning Bids Determined?

Our auction operates on the basis of the winning bid figure being calculated at one step over the level of the second highest bid (see Bidding Steps below). It is very important to note that this is not a tender situation where you automatically pay the full amount of your bid.  For example, if a lot is estimated at  50.00 and we receive two bids of 60.00 and 70.00 respectively, the winning bidder will pay 62.00 (i.e. one bidding step above the level of the second highest bid).

In the event of two identical bids being received, the first bid received shall prevail.


Types Of Bids 

Obviously the vast majority of bids we receive are of the traditional nature with an individual maximum bid figure listed in relation to each lot of interest. There are two exceptions to this general rule in the form of Limit Bids and Buy Bids which we also accept. They operate as follows:

Limit Bids - Clients often find that our sales contain a large amount of material of interest to them. However, their budgets may be limited to a certain figure. Rather than limit their bids to that figure alone with the possibility that they may spend far less than their available maximum they choose to operate our Limit Bid facility. Under this system bidders can list bids to a value well in excess of their financial limit with those bids being executed in preference order until their limit is reached by virtue of successful purchases. For example, a client may have a budget of 200.00 but may list bids to the value of 150.00 or whatever figure they choose.  As soon as their 200.00 limit is reached bidding ceases upon their behalf. 

When adopting this method we request that clients list their bids in order of strict preference in order that maximum satisfaction can be guaranteed.

The fact that bids are subject to an overall spending limit must be clearly and unambiguously stated on the bid form. An overall limit cannot be calculated with postage & packing charges factored in as these are variable and unknown at the time lots are allocated. Any specified overall limit is by necessity exclusive of such postage & packing charges.   

Buy Bids - This method of bidding is often misunderstood. It does not mean that a lot can be purchased prior to the auction at the estimated price. The confusion often arises because some companies operate a "Buy or Bid" model. Rather, a Buy Bid is an open ended commitment to purchase an item at one step over the second highest bid received - however expensive this may prove. For that reason it is a potentially dangerous method of bidding. If two bidders find a lot of special interest the Buy Bidder may end up paying far more than they anticipated. For example, if a lot is estimated at 20.00 and a bid is received of 150.00 as well as a Buy Bid, the client who entered the Buy Bid will be liable to pay 155.00 (one step over the second highest bid received). This scenario is not unknown - especially if we have underestimated a particular lot!

We do accept Buy Bids but we do not recommend them as we believe they are fraught with the potential for misunderstandings. We far prefer that bidders express an exact figure in relation to each lot of interest. If two Buy Bids are received (an event which is rare but has occurred) , we will contact each bidder to establish a specific maximum figure in order to resolve the deadlock.


Auction Bidding Steps

The following bidding steps apply:

Lots estimated up to 10.00 - 50 pence steps

Lots estimated from 10.00 to 30.00 - 1.00 steps

Lots estimated from 30.00 to 100.00 - 2.00 steps

Lots estimated from 100.00 to 250.00 - 5.00 steps

Lots estimated from 250.00 to 500.00 - 10.00 steps

Lots estimated from 500.00  to 1000.00 - 25.00 steps

Lots estimated from 1000.00  to 2000.00 - 50.00 steps

Lots estimated over 2000.00  - 100.00 steps


Methods Of Bidding

There are a variety of methods by which clients can enter bids in our auctions. They are as follows:

Catalogue Bid Form - If you are in receipt of our traditional printed catalogue it will contain a Bid Form, which can be mailed to us at Principality Auctions, Suite F, The Barn, Hawkhill Business Park, Lesbury, Alnwick, Northumberland NE66 3PG.

Website Bid Form - Clients can enter bids by virtue of our Web Bid Form which can be accessed via any auction lot on our website. As long as you do not leave the site completely bids can be saved whilst you browse our sale. When you have viewed all items of interest you can send the completed Bid Form via the website and it will be e-mailed directly to us. We will acknowledge all bids received via the website by virtue of an e-mail. If you do not receive such an acknowledgement within 48 hours, please contact us as it will indicate your bids have not been received.

By Direct E-Mail - Clients can e-mail us directly at with their bids. We will acknowledge all bids received by this method with an e-mail. In common with bids transmitted via our website, if such acknowledgement is not received within 48 hours, please contact us in order to establish whether your bids have been received.

By Telephone - We are happy to accept bids by telephone. Our telephone number is +44 (01665) 830268. Although our answerphone is continually operational when our office is unattended we do not recommend leaving bids on it in message form. In the event of a power cut for instance, all messages will be lost and we will have no indication of bids being left. In relation to clients previously unknown to us submitting telephone bids, we do request confirmation in writing by post, fax or e-mail.  













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