Steuben Jadeite and Pink Glass Teacups and Saucers_Michaan Auctions_Barnebys
Five Stueben Jadeite and Pink Glass Teacups and Saucers, on sale at Michaan’s found via Barnebys

Lovers of all things vintage, antique, unique and beautiful can strike gold at auctions. In-person or online auctions are a great place to discover unexpected and enduring pieces of all kinds. For expert advice on making your experience as amazing as it could be, we got the down low from Pontus Silfverstolpe, Founder and Head of Content for Barnebys, an auction aggregator.

RH: What is your advice for people buying at auctions?

Pontus: Set yourself a budget—it can be easy to get carried away with the excitement of an auction!

Do your homework—is there a cost for delivery? What is the rate of buyers’ premium? How long will the auction house hold the item before you have to collect it and are there any storage costs? 

When is the auction? Using Barnebys, the auction aggregator, you can easily track what auctions are coming up and when.

When should people buy?

There are auctions underway around the globe around the clock! 

If you want a bargain, look out for an auction houses’ ‘House Sale.’ These are often miscellaneous sales that have everything from art, to furniture, jewelry and textiles.

Pair of French Louis XV Rococo Fauteuils Stamped Pothier_Nicholas Wells Antiques_Barnebys
Pair of French Louis XV Rococo Fauteuils Stamped Pothier on sale at Nicholas Wells Antiques via Barnebys


What sort of problems might occur and how would you advise people deal with them?

If you do your research regarding delivery and premium your auction experience should go smoothly. However, if you have any concerns, speak with the auction house prior to bidding, the experts are there to ensure you have a pleasant and transparent buying experience.

 Read all information very carefully, the auction house will provide you with the size of the object and all the particulars in a condition report. You don’t want to end up with a doll-sized piece of furniture when looking for a sideboard for the dining room!  Check the currency you are bidding in if bidding in an international auction.


Are there any trends on your site you’d like to bring our attention to? 

Photography and prints are both great entry points for starting an art collection, as prices can start as little as $100 or below for an original piece. …

 If you’re looking for something on a budget, but still want something with the wow factor, unique items such as unusual shaped trays, antique screwdrivers or ornate candlesticks [are a great start whether for your own collection or as gifts].