Smith & Singer

How to Buy & Sell

Auction Basics

An ancient and simple form of commerce, auctions have long been the best way to establish the value of unique and rare items.  Smith & Singer has been established in the Australian market since the 1980s, but in association with Sotheby’s has a history of more than 275 years.  Smith & Singer has perfected the art of the auction, yet is continuously seeking ways of updating the process.  Today, modern innovations such as broadcasting sales over the internet and accepting bids online and in real time allow you to participate in our auctions from anywhere in the world.

> View glossary of terms

Who can attend an auction?

All of Smith & Singer's auctions are free and open to the public, and there is no obligation to bid. Most auctions are held during the evening in Sydney or Melbourne. You may also watch our auctions online.  Watching an auction live from one of our salerooms is a great way to become familiar with the auction process.  If you have any questions about the auction process, please feel free to ask one of our staff members for guidance.

Who are the auctioneers?

Smith & Singer’s auctioneers are trained professionals, often with decades of experience. The auctioneer initiates the sale of each lot by briefly describing the item and then starting the bidding at a price that is lower than its reserve. The auctioneer acknowledges every bidder, whether they are in the saleroom, participating via the internet, or over the telephone. They also place bids on behalf of absentee bidders. The auctioneer, whose authority is final, determines when the highest bid has been made and declares the lot sold.

How does bidding work?

After the auctioneer starts the bidding, they will accept incrementally higher bids until a sole bidder remains. This final bidder purchases the lot. However, if the bidding fails to reach the reserve price, the lot will pass unsold.

What types of auctions does Smith & Singer hold?

Smith & Singer’s auctions generally comprise fine arts and jewellery in sales dedicated to each collecting area. Occasionally, however, Smith & Singer offers an entire collection on its own, or sells the entire contents of magnificent homes or the estates of great collectors and luminaries.

> View Departments

We use our own and third party cookies to enable you to navigate around our Site, use its features and engage on social media, and to allow us to perform analytics, remember your preferences, provide services that you have requested and produce content and advertisements tailored to your interests, both on our Site as well as others. For more information, or to learn how to change your cookie or marketing preferences, please see our updated Privacy Policy & Cookie Policy.

By continuing to use our Site, you consent to our use of cookies and to the practices described in our updated Privacy Policy.