Buying at Auction 

There are multiple ways to buy at auction with Keys, below are listed some of the ways that you can do this


In Person 

Buyers are welcome (encouraged!) to attend the auction, and to bid in person on the lots being offered. Attending an auction can be an enjoyable day out, and there is no need to worry about the auctioneer taking a sneeze as a bid! All bidders need to register with the auctioneers office prior to bidding, and obtain a buyer number. As soon as you have finished bidding, you may pay for and collect your items. You might even enjoy a cup of coffee at our on-site Coffee Shop while you are visiting, or perhaps spot an item you wish to purchase in another forthcoming auction.

Telephone Bid 

For our Fine Art and Specialist sales we offer a telephone bidding service, whereby a member of staff will contact you and relay your bidding via the telephone to the auctioneer. Please note that telephone line availability is limited, and that telephone bidders will be required to also leave an absentee bid at the low estimate on the lot to secure booking their line.


You may leave a bid prior to the auction on our website, or bid “live” during the auction from your computer, tablet or phone. Simply register using the "CREATE ACCOUNT" link at the top right of the website, and you will be able to leave bids on any lot in advance of the sale. You may also follow the auction "live" online, with a real-time video and audio feed directly from the auctioneer; a click of a button on your computer, tablet or phone relays the bid immediately to the auctioneer.

Absentee Bid 

If you are unable to attend the auction, or would prefer for us to bid on your behalf (up to a maximum amount), you may leave an absentee, or commission, bid. These can be submitted via our website (as above), or by email (in which case we will acknowledge receipt), or by filling in a paper form at the salerooms when viewing and handing it to one of our staff. Please ensure that absentee bids are with us at least thirty minutes prior to the start of the auction!

Additional Charges

All lots sold at Keys usually attract a Buyers Premium.This is currently charged at 20% (weekly sales) or 22% (antiques & specialist sales) or as detailed on the "Buyers Information" on the auction listing.

All online "live" bidders pay an additional premium for the service of 4.95%

Payment, Collection and Delivery 

Please note that payment for purchases is due as soon as the auction ends. Successful bidders may pay in person on the day of the sale, or online via our secure payment portal at There is a link direct from the email invoice which is sent to all bidders with a balance outstanding once the auction has finished.
Buyers should ensure that they carefully note the collection details for each sale – for weekly sales, purchased items need to be collected on a Tuesday wherever possible, and by the end of the week of the auction at the latest (due to the quick turnaround and high number of lots every week); for specialist sales, all lots should be paid for and collected within a maximum of seven days of the sale. If you are unable to collect within the allocated times, please do contact us and we will do our best to accommodate you, and avoid any unnecessary handling or storage charges being added to your account.
In some cases we can assist with delivery or postage; please see the relevant online catalogue for details. 
If you have any questions at all about buying from our auctions, our staff are always delighted to talk you through the process - please do not hesitate to contact us.