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What to Know

You are welcome.
A lot of people are put off from attending an auction or auction preview because of the exclusive airs of some auction houses and art galleries. Don’t be. You are welcome at Rago’s (and most auction houses) regardless of level of knowledge or size of bank account. We even approve of well-behaved children and dogs.

You don’t need to buy anything.
Nothing makes an auctioneer happier than a roomful of bidders. But buying is not a prerequisite for taking a seat. In fact, if you think you might be a buyer one day, the best thing you can do is hang around for a couple of sales and get a feel for how the auction works.

Auctions are a great place to learn about art and design.
Look though our online catalogues or visit a Rago auction exhibition. If you have an interest in a particular artist or designer, let us know. Our staff will “open the cases” for you - actually or virtually - and answer your questions. Ask a specialist what he or she thinks is better and best and why. Specialists have their jobs because they love art and design and are happy to speak with someone who appreciates it, too.

There are many ways to bid.
If you can’t be at an auction in person, there are other options for bidding. People bid on the phone and online. They also leave bids in advance. (See Bidding below.)

There is a buyer’s premium.
An auction house makes its money by asking a percentage of the selling price from the consignor and a percentage of the selling price from the buyer. The buyer’s premium, as it is known, varies among auction houses. It will be lowest at country sales and highest at major auction houses. You need to factor it in when deciding how much you want to bid. Rago’s buyer’s premium is 22%.

A bid is a contract to buy.
Virtually all auctions sell their property “as-is, where-is.” That means every purchase - with rare and specific exceptions – is a final sale. Read Rago’s Terms of Sale before you buy. Ask about any part you don’t understand.

Fine and early glass sculpture, 1975