Live Auctions: Your Guide to Buying
LEVIS Fine Art Auctions is a consignment-based art auction house that receives art from private collectors, estates, corporate collections, galleries, dealers, public institutions and a variety of other sources.
In order to bid in any of our live auctions, you must first register. You may pre-register at no cost for the Live Auction during any of the preview times, but you must remember to bring your bidder card [linked to your credit card] to the live auction on Sunday. LEVIS requires a VISA/MC credit card number from any first time bidder and this information will be held for the duration of the auction in a secure database. We add your personal information to a confidential database that will allow us to notify you about our upcoming auctions. You will receive a three digit bidder number that is only good for the specific auction for which you have registered. We recommend you arrive earlier to avoid line-ups on the day of the auction.
If you have registered with us before, you will still be required to register again for each live auction to obtain a new three digit bid card each time.
If you already have an Online Auction paddle number [four digits]; it will not work at the Live Auction. Although you will already exist in our database, you cannot use your permanent four digit paddle number at the Live Auction. We will happily register you so that you will receive a three digit Live Auction bidder number.
A premium of 17% will be added to the hammer price of all Property sold. This premium is payable by all purchasers.
GST of 5% will be charged on the Hammer Price and on the Buyer's Premium. For those clients purchasing items from outside of Alberta, additional taxes may be applicable. For those clients whose items are shipped outside of Canada there will be no Goods and Service Tax charged but there may be other additional tax charges dependent on where you live and your current tax rates. The Buyer is responsible for other duties or obtaining the necessary licenses for the export of the lot.
A reserve is the confidential minimum price agreed upon between the seller and the auction house, below which the artwork will not ordinarily be sold.
We do not accept reserve prices that would exceed the printed estimate. As agents for the consignor, we may bid once per lot, if and only if, the current bid on the lot being offered is below the reserve. LEVIS recommends to consignors to keep the reserve at 60-70% of the low end of the estimate, however, the actual reserve is still confidential. Some lots may be unreserved and that may be advertised. In the fourth session, the auction sheets beside the lots have starting bids that can be interpreted as the reserve.
As a service to our clients, we provide pre-sale auction estimates. This price range represents our expectation of the approximate sale price of any given lot. Although these figures are based upon previous auctions results by the artist or something similar, they are opinions only. Pre-sale estimates are not appraised values. In addition, estimates are worked on well in advance of the publication of the catalogue. Please contact the office for more information on any particular lot. In no case does the reserve exceed the printed estimate.
If you are successful on a particular lot, you will be requested to show your bidder number. The auctioneer will call out that number and if there is a discrepancy, please alert the auctioneer at that time.
Absentee bids are a service that we offer to our clients who are unable, or choose not to attend the Live Auction. You will provide us with the maximum hammer price for which you would like to purchase a particular lot. This does NOT mean that your maximum price is what we open the bidding at for your chosen lot. There is one person assigned to execute all Absentee Bids. This representative will wait until the lowest possible bid is taken on the floor, and then they will bid on your behalf if other interest is present. They will continue to bid up until your absentee bid is reached. If you specify so, there is an option for Plus One bid. This allows the Absentee Bidder to bid an additional 10% above your maximum price in case the order of bidding does not favor your top bid. If no other interest is present and your absentee bid meets the undisclosed reserve, Levis will then sell that lot to your Absentee Bid for the reserve price.
There are multiple ways you can send us your Absentee bid.
- You can email, call or submit bids in person anytime before 5pm the day before the Live Auction.
- You can fill out the form on our website here.
- You can print out and either deliver/email the form on the site to our office.
Telephone bids are a service that we offer to our clients both locally and internationally. In order to set up a phone bid, please either call or email the office in advance of the auction. We will then confirm with you the lot and all other contact information. On the day of the auction we have a dedicated team of telephone bidders to bid live with you over the telephone. Like the Absentee Bidder, the telephone bidders will also attempt to purchase your chosen lot for the lowest possible price. Please ensure that you have confirmed your telephone bid with us in person or over that phone to verify that we have received your telephone bid request.
$50-$100 ......................... $5
$100-$250 ....................... $10
$250-$500 ....................... $25
$500-$1,000 .................... $50
$1,000-$2,500 ................. $100
$2,500-$5,000 ................. $250
$5,000-$10,000 ............... $500
$10,000-$25,000 ............. $1,000
$25,000-$50,000 ............. $2,500
$50,000-$100,000 ........... $5,000
$100,000-$500,000 ......... $25,000
$500,000-$1,000,000 ...... $50,000
Payment may be made by cash, Direct Debit, certified cheque, MasterCard, Visa, bank wire or draft. Payment must be made in full the day of the auction.
Once payment has been made in full, you may pick up your art work. Art work left with the auction company is left at the purchaser's risk and peril. Items not picked up on the day of the auction will be brought back to the office which will re-open at noon on the Tuesday following the auction.
How does the Fourth Session work?
Our fourth session operates first as a silent auction and then goes live on Sunday after the third session. Initially it is set-up just like a silent auction where you can write your bidder number down on the sheets next to the amount you wish to bid. When we get to lot 401 on the day of the auction, the silent auction bid papers come down and accompany the art pieces up to the easel. The auctioneer begins the bidding at the last bid left on the sheet. If no one on the floor bids, the piece goes to the highest bidder on the silent auction sheet. If there is interest on the floor, the bidding opens at the highest amount on the silent auction sheet and proceeds until all bidding concludes. This open bidding is available to everyone; we encourage individuals who had bid on the sheets to stay for this session so that they can ensure they are successful. We do not accept telephone bids in this session as the progression is too fast to ensure that we will be able to contact clients in time. We do accept absentee bids on this session if you cannot stay.
Over decades of running our auctions, we find this method particularly effective. It is both fair to our bidders and it considerably speeds up the process of closing the Live Auction getting you home in time for dinner.