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Art Market & You : ART AUCTION TERMINOLOGY – BIDS & SALES

Through Art Market & You, Art From Us provides you Analysis, Opinion and Factual Reports regarding the current on-goings of the Global Art Market. In this article, we explore Art Auction terminology relating to bids and sales.

Art auction terminology can be quite confusing and daunting to young collectors or people without an art background. We are here to help you out. Following are a few key art auction terms relating to bids and types of sales.

Art Auction Terminology : Bids and Sales

Auction Block – A work is said to go on the ‘auction block’ when it’s up for sale at auction. However, the auction block also refers to the physical podium that the auctioneer stands at while conducting the sale.

Bid – An indication by the prospective buyer that she is willing to pay a certain price to purchase the work in question.

Absentee Bid – A bid placed by a prospective buyer without being physically present in the auction room.

Telephone Bid – Bids placed by prospective buyers over the telephone, which are attended to by specialists in the sale room.

Auctioneer – the person who conducts the auction, accepts bids and confirms sales through a strike of the hammer.

Cover Lot – the artwork displayed on the cover of the auction catalogue, typically the lot that would generate most excitement for the sale.

Day Sale – Held in the day, these sales typically offer less expensive works for auction.

Evening Sale – these are considered more sophisticated and important than the day sale, as they present the star lots.

White Glove Sale – an auction with a 100% sale rate, where nothing remains unsold.


To read more on facts and opinions, visit Art Market & You.

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