Leonard Joel

5 Easy Steps to Buying Jewellery at Auction

Jewels 27 Jun 2016


The thought of buying jewellery at auction can be a daunting prospect, if you are not familiar with the auction process. At Leonard Joe, a team of qualified staff will help you and our guarantee as to the authenticity of catalogued items purchased will give you further assurance. Once you realise how simple it is to purchase rare and beautiful pieces, at perhaps a fraction of the retail price, you will not look back!

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 4.40.02 PMSTEP 1: Viewing prior to auction

A good place to first consider and select pieces of interest is by looking at the online catalogue. If possible you should attend a viewing and carefully inspect each item of interest you’ve selected from the online catalogue. If you can’t attend in person you can call or email with any questions about an item. Good general questions to ask include the quality of manufacture, whether any reports are held on the gems and the general condition of an item.

It is vert important you satisfy yourself as to the current condition of an item before bidding. The jewellery offered at Leonard Joel can be anything from ‘as new’ condition to un-repairable and it is too late after bidding to decide that you are not satisfied with a piece’s condition. If a jewellery description has ‘A/F’ at the end, it means the item has one or more serious condition issues.

For the Fine Jewellery sale and pieces of higher value, it is sensible to request a condition report by email. The specialist will check and send you a report, endeavouring to cover in more detail the condition of the piece. This will point out identifiable modifications such as abraded or replaced gems, repairs, dints, scratches etc.

Once you have satisfied yourself as to the condition and quality of the piece you may bid with confidence.

Methods of bidding

There are four primary ways of bidding with Leonard Joel.

Attending the auction in person

When the auction commences the lot number and a description of the item being sold are read out. When the lot you are interested in is reached, the auctioneer with call for a bid and incrementally raise the bidding until the item is sold at the fall of the hammer. The auctioneer will clearly indicate if the bid is with or against you. Indicate a clear bid to the auctioneer and if they have not seen you, make sure you get their attention before the hammer falls. Most auctioneers will not reopen the bidding after the hammer falls. Attending the auction is the traditional and many feel the most enjoyable way of securing items at auction.

Telephone Bidding 

Telephone bidding is a service provided for all catalogue auctions. Having made prior arrangements to bid by telephone, a staff member will contact you on your nominated number, just prior to reaching the lot you are interested in. They will
inform you of each bid made and ask if you would like to make a bid at the amount being called for by the auctioneer. They will then communicate your bids to the auctioneer. Phone bidding is reserved for serious interest in an item above the low-end estimate. If you interest is at the low-end estimate or below then absentee biddingwould be more appropriate.

Absentee Bidding

Absentee bidding is where you have decided the maximum price you would pay for an item. This bid is put onto the auctioneer’s sheets who will execute it on your behalf. The auctioneer is the only person able to see your maximum bid.  If there are two absentee bids of the same amount the bidder who lodged their bid first would be successful. Leonard Joel guarantees a fair and transparent process.

Live Online Bidding 

All Leonard Joel’s auctions are conducted with a live stream online and those registered can bid online. The provider used by Leonard Joel is Invaluable. The bids are communicated live through a Leonard Joel console operator in the auction room to the auctioneer. Once registered you can bid on any item of interest in that auction by streaming it live. All pertinent information such as the current bid and what the next bid would be is provided, with audible tones to assist. This method   requires quick thinking and prompt bidding as there can be a slight delay from the time of pressing the button at your end, to the bid being communicated to the auctioneer.

STEP 3: Register for the auction

Registering for bidding simply requires your name and address, to adequately identify you and a credit card reference. The credit card is for security, and will only be charged where payment is not made in the allocated period after the auction. Registration can be made at Leonard Joel reception prior to the auction or online.

If you wish to bid live online you will need to set this up separately through Invaluable.

STEP 4: Deciding what bid to leave or setting a limit

The unknown factor is what an item will sell for and this can be difficult to predict, as much depends on the market on the day. An estimate is only a guide. Some items may greatly exceed their estimated value, whilst others may not reach it. Leaving an absentee bid allows you to set the limit prior to the auction and the auctioneer does the rest. With all other methods of bidding at a live auction, the number of bids and how far it goes is completely in your hands. Setting yourself an upper limit is a good strategy as auctions can be highly charged.  Always remember that a 22% buyer’s premium is added to the hammer price of all items sold at Leonard Joel. For example if the hammer falls at $1000, you will pay $1220.

STEP 5: Payment and Collection 

Once the highest bid has been secured for the item at auction, the successful purchaser can pay and then collect it, provided payment has been cleared. If you are interstate or unable to collect your item, Leonard Joel can assist with organizing postage, or packaging of items for courier collection. The cost will   depend on the type of postage or delivery method requested.

DSC_1581If you have any questions about how to buy Jewels at auction or any other queries, please contact:

Robert Haigh
Senior Jewellery Specialist and Resident Gemmologist and Diamond Technologist
03 8825 5618 | robert.haigh@leonardjoel.com.au