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History-Changing Maps Lead Important Books, Manuscripts & Works Auction in London

History-Changing Maps Lead Important Books, Manuscripts & Works Auction in London

Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions is catering to those obsessed with books with their Important Books sale on May 19. Taking place in their London saleroom, they are gearing up to auction off a slew of super rare tomes that you'll probably need to keep in a glass case, like a Cosmographia map of Britain from 1490 and an illuminate manuscript Book of Hours.

Lot 10

The distorted map of Britain from the Cosmographia (lot 10) was "conceived alongside others of the whole Roman Empire by Greco-Roman astrologer, mathematician and writer Claudius Ptolemaeus. Ptolemy’s Cosmographia was a ground-breaking treaty that challenged medieval map-making and revolutionized cartography." Since maps at the time were made to reflect landmarks and powerful cities, the actual sizes were always skewed. Ptolemy actually used mathematical calculations though to try and accurately represent the land, dramatically changing future mapping. The lot contains a book that discusses the geography and one full of 27 copper-engraved maps of the known world, estimated to bring in £70,000-90,000 ($117,740-151,380).

lot 1

Coming from the medieval period in 1490 is the Book of Hours (lot 1), which was "produced on commission on a greater scale than any other book during the medieval period and played a vital role in the late Medieval and Renaissance cult of the virgin." It is expected to make at least £20,000 ($33,640).

Lot 94

The auction also includes three books previously owned by William Wordsworth (lot 94). One of the book's is Some Account of the Life and Writings of Lope Felix de Vega Carpio written by Henry Holland in 1806 and has an inscription from the author with Wordworth's ink signature. The item is bound in a decorative cloth covering, which were historically used to improve a book's appearance. Since the British Library has a similar copy of Holland's book that was bound by Wordworth's wife Dorothy, the auctioneer believes that she could have also done this one as well. The other two books (also bound) are John Dunton's 1818 two volume work The Life and Errors of John Dunton, which was owned by Wordworth's friend and peer Robert Southey. The auction house is hoping the books bring in at least £500 ($841).

Lot 2

Also included in the sale is Wordworth's copy of Yarrow Revisited and other Poems and later examples of printed books of hours, like Heures a Lusaige de Romme from 1521 and Hore beate marie secundum usum Romanium from 1507.

If you're interested in viewing the auction lot before bidding, visit the saleroom in Mayfair before May 18.

Lot 10 Lot 10


Going, going .

This is the first installment of an occasional feature that will highlight offerings at selected auction houses.

Over the past several years, Southern California’s auction houses have become so diverse in their offerings that it is now possible to purchase, often at bargain prices, antiques and collectibles such as Pop Art prints and paintings, centuries-old Etruscan sculpture or a full T. rex skeleton. Searching for Buccellati silver or a vintage MG roadster? Chances are you can find it or take a look at it without having to leave Los Angeles.

To begin, contact local and national auction houses and ask to be placed on mailing lists that will notify you of upcoming sales and events. Specify areas of collecting that interest you. Most auction houses publish glossy catalogs available for sale (which are often complimentary to previous buyers) and offer previews on their websites within two weeks before a scheduled sale.

Although catalogs and websites generally offer detailed descriptions, you can also request reports on the condition of “lots” (an item or group of items numbered and tagged for auction).

Whenever possible, examine them in person. Only you can determine whether the phrase “slight wear to finish” means a tabletop you can live with or have to take somewhere for restoration.

Generally, lots go on exhibit at an auction preview a few days before the sale. Previews are free, open to the general public and often travel to Los Angeles even if the auction is being held elsewhere. They are normally staffed with knowledgeable experts who can answer your questions.

Unlike a museum or gallery show, a preview provides a more intimate viewing experience even if you have no intention of spending a year’s salary on an Edward Weston photograph, you can still have the thrill of holding it in your hand. For that reason, previews are the best opportunity to make a thorough inspection of goods to be auctioned.

This is frequently a hands-on experience and it is not uncommon to see potential buyers -- armed with flashlights, magnifying glasses and jewelers’ loupes -- examining the backs of paintings, turning over chairs, and kneeling to look under tables.

Auctions can be fast-paced and intoxicating, making it is easy to get swept up in the excitement and suffer buyer’s remorse as bad as any hangover. Therefore, it is always advisable to set a limit for your purchases. Remember that in addition to delivery or shipping charges you also will be required to pay an additional 10% to 15% commission to the gallery (known as the buyer’s premium) above the winning bid (also referred to as the “hammer price”).

It is always helpful to research the items you are interested in and learn how much they usually fetch. Online art and auction sites such as www.artnet.com www.askart.com www.artfact.com www.ebay.com also can be invaluable resource tools.

Catalogs and online auction previews always list estimates of the expected hammer price. Remember, these are only estimates. Most sellers set a “reserve price,” which is the lowest bid they will accept. Auctioneers are not allowed to reveal that price, but it is often 10% to 15% lower than the estimated sales price. Often it is much lower and sometimes there are no reserves.

You don’t need to sit through a whole auction to bid on that candelabrum that caught your eye. If you see an item during preview that you wish to bid on, ask a staff member the approximate time that your lot could be expected to come up for sale. Auction house staffers can generally gauge how many lots will be sold per hour and can give you a fairly accurate range of time.

When attending a live auction, find a location where the auctioneer can see you and you can see the other bidders. (The far back of the salesroom is always advantageous.) It never hurts to appear nonchalant, so that the bidding doesn’t escalate needlessly, but the most important thing is to make clear eye contact with the auctioneer. When you bid, hold your paddle up and be certain that it is not obstructed and that the staff can read your paddle number.

If you cannot attend the actual sale, you can still participate in the live proceedings by phone. Auction houses vary on phone bidding minimums, usually starting with lots more than $1,500. Having established your phone connection, a member of the auction house staff will call you within 15 minutes of the predicted lot time. It is always best to discuss with your phone bidder what your limits will be. Although you can change your mind as you go along, bidding happens rapidly. Your phone bidder cannot hold up the auction while you are considering your next bid.

You may also leave an absentee order bid by phone or at the preview. The auctioneer will place your bid in his book and when your lot comes up he will auction your bid against the “live” bids in the room or on the phones.

It is not unusual for 10% to 20% of the goods posted for auction to become “passed lots,” which are items that failed to draw the seller’s reserve price. Since auctioneers depend on commissions and want to move merchandise, “aftersale bidding” (known in the trade as “bottom feeding”) can help you snag great bargains. Directly after the sale, review the results and the list of passed lots that are posted on the auction houses’ websites. (Many enter results as the auction is in progress the notation “B.I.” is auctioneer shorthand for items that haven’t sold.)

If you are interested in an unsold lot, you should contact the department within the auction house that originally would have cataloged the piece. Although this takes a little more time and effort than a normal auction bid, it can be well worth your while. You can make an offer anywhere from 15% to 25% beneath the lowest listed estimate -- more if you are willing to risk being outbid -- and the auction house will contact the owner of the property with the offer. It’s a small gamble that can reap big rewards because after the auction, the consignor -- not the auction house -- has the final say.

Leslie Trilling, an appraiser of fine and decorative arts, is a past director for Phillips Auctioneers, Western region, and a graduate of the Sotheby’s Institute in London.

Lot 425: by Wayne Thiebaud, 1970, aquatint on paper, Edition No. 15/50, 30 inches by 25 inches


Going, going .

This is the first installment of an occasional feature that will highlight offerings at selected auction houses.

Over the past several years, Southern California’s auction houses have become so diverse in their offerings that it is now possible to purchase, often at bargain prices, antiques and collectibles such as Pop Art prints and paintings, centuries-old Etruscan sculpture or a full T. rex skeleton. Searching for Buccellati silver or a vintage MG roadster? Chances are you can find it or take a look at it without having to leave Los Angeles.

To begin, contact local and national auction houses and ask to be placed on mailing lists that will notify you of upcoming sales and events. Specify areas of collecting that interest you. Most auction houses publish glossy catalogs available for sale (which are often complimentary to previous buyers) and offer previews on their websites within two weeks before a scheduled sale.

Although catalogs and websites generally offer detailed descriptions, you can also request reports on the condition of “lots” (an item or group of items numbered and tagged for auction).

Whenever possible, examine them in person. Only you can determine whether the phrase “slight wear to finish” means a tabletop you can live with or have to take somewhere for restoration.

Generally, lots go on exhibit at an auction preview a few days before the sale. Previews are free, open to the general public and often travel to Los Angeles even if the auction is being held elsewhere. They are normally staffed with knowledgeable experts who can answer your questions.

Unlike a museum or gallery show, a preview provides a more intimate viewing experience even if you have no intention of spending a year’s salary on an Edward Weston photograph, you can still have the thrill of holding it in your hand. For that reason, previews are the best opportunity to make a thorough inspection of goods to be auctioned.

This is frequently a hands-on experience and it is not uncommon to see potential buyers -- armed with flashlights, magnifying glasses and jewelers’ loupes -- examining the backs of paintings, turning over chairs, and kneeling to look under tables.

Auctions can be fast-paced and intoxicating, making it is easy to get swept up in the excitement and suffer buyer’s remorse as bad as any hangover. Therefore, it is always advisable to set a limit for your purchases. Remember that in addition to delivery or shipping charges you also will be required to pay an additional 10% to 15% commission to the gallery (known as the buyer’s premium) above the winning bid (also referred to as the “hammer price”).

It is always helpful to research the items you are interested in and learn how much they usually fetch. Online art and auction sites such as www.artnet.com www.askart.com www.artfact.com www.ebay.com also can be invaluable resource tools.

Catalogs and online auction previews always list estimates of the expected hammer price. Remember, these are only estimates. Most sellers set a “reserve price,” which is the lowest bid they will accept. Auctioneers are not allowed to reveal that price, but it is often 10% to 15% lower than the estimated sales price. Often it is much lower and sometimes there are no reserves.

You don’t need to sit through a whole auction to bid on that candelabrum that caught your eye. If you see an item during preview that you wish to bid on, ask a staff member the approximate time that your lot could be expected to come up for sale. Auction house staffers can generally gauge how many lots will be sold per hour and can give you a fairly accurate range of time.

When attending a live auction, find a location where the auctioneer can see you and you can see the other bidders. (The far back of the salesroom is always advantageous.) It never hurts to appear nonchalant, so that the bidding doesn’t escalate needlessly, but the most important thing is to make clear eye contact with the auctioneer. When you bid, hold your paddle up and be certain that it is not obstructed and that the staff can read your paddle number.

If you cannot attend the actual sale, you can still participate in the live proceedings by phone. Auction houses vary on phone bidding minimums, usually starting with lots more than $1,500. Having established your phone connection, a member of the auction house staff will call you within 15 minutes of the predicted lot time. It is always best to discuss with your phone bidder what your limits will be. Although you can change your mind as you go along, bidding happens rapidly. Your phone bidder cannot hold up the auction while you are considering your next bid.

You may also leave an absentee order bid by phone or at the preview. The auctioneer will place your bid in his book and when your lot comes up he will auction your bid against the “live” bids in the room or on the phones.

It is not unusual for 10% to 20% of the goods posted for auction to become “passed lots,” which are items that failed to draw the seller’s reserve price. Since auctioneers depend on commissions and want to move merchandise, “aftersale bidding” (known in the trade as “bottom feeding”) can help you snag great bargains. Directly after the sale, review the results and the list of passed lots that are posted on the auction houses’ websites. (Many enter results as the auction is in progress the notation “B.I.” is auctioneer shorthand for items that haven’t sold.)

If you are interested in an unsold lot, you should contact the department within the auction house that originally would have cataloged the piece. Although this takes a little more time and effort than a normal auction bid, it can be well worth your while. You can make an offer anywhere from 15% to 25% beneath the lowest listed estimate -- more if you are willing to risk being outbid -- and the auction house will contact the owner of the property with the offer. It’s a small gamble that can reap big rewards because after the auction, the consignor -- not the auction house -- has the final say.

Leslie Trilling, an appraiser of fine and decorative arts, is a past director for Phillips Auctioneers, Western region, and a graduate of the Sotheby’s Institute in London.

Lot 425: by Wayne Thiebaud, 1970, aquatint on paper, Edition No. 15/50, 30 inches by 25 inches


Going, going .

This is the first installment of an occasional feature that will highlight offerings at selected auction houses.

Over the past several years, Southern California’s auction houses have become so diverse in their offerings that it is now possible to purchase, often at bargain prices, antiques and collectibles such as Pop Art prints and paintings, centuries-old Etruscan sculpture or a full T. rex skeleton. Searching for Buccellati silver or a vintage MG roadster? Chances are you can find it or take a look at it without having to leave Los Angeles.

To begin, contact local and national auction houses and ask to be placed on mailing lists that will notify you of upcoming sales and events. Specify areas of collecting that interest you. Most auction houses publish glossy catalogs available for sale (which are often complimentary to previous buyers) and offer previews on their websites within two weeks before a scheduled sale.

Although catalogs and websites generally offer detailed descriptions, you can also request reports on the condition of “lots” (an item or group of items numbered and tagged for auction).

Whenever possible, examine them in person. Only you can determine whether the phrase “slight wear to finish” means a tabletop you can live with or have to take somewhere for restoration.

Generally, lots go on exhibit at an auction preview a few days before the sale. Previews are free, open to the general public and often travel to Los Angeles even if the auction is being held elsewhere. They are normally staffed with knowledgeable experts who can answer your questions.

Unlike a museum or gallery show, a preview provides a more intimate viewing experience even if you have no intention of spending a year’s salary on an Edward Weston photograph, you can still have the thrill of holding it in your hand. For that reason, previews are the best opportunity to make a thorough inspection of goods to be auctioned.

This is frequently a hands-on experience and it is not uncommon to see potential buyers -- armed with flashlights, magnifying glasses and jewelers’ loupes -- examining the backs of paintings, turning over chairs, and kneeling to look under tables.

Auctions can be fast-paced and intoxicating, making it is easy to get swept up in the excitement and suffer buyer’s remorse as bad as any hangover. Therefore, it is always advisable to set a limit for your purchases. Remember that in addition to delivery or shipping charges you also will be required to pay an additional 10% to 15% commission to the gallery (known as the buyer’s premium) above the winning bid (also referred to as the “hammer price”).

It is always helpful to research the items you are interested in and learn how much they usually fetch. Online art and auction sites such as www.artnet.com www.askart.com www.artfact.com www.ebay.com also can be invaluable resource tools.

Catalogs and online auction previews always list estimates of the expected hammer price. Remember, these are only estimates. Most sellers set a “reserve price,” which is the lowest bid they will accept. Auctioneers are not allowed to reveal that price, but it is often 10% to 15% lower than the estimated sales price. Often it is much lower and sometimes there are no reserves.

You don’t need to sit through a whole auction to bid on that candelabrum that caught your eye. If you see an item during preview that you wish to bid on, ask a staff member the approximate time that your lot could be expected to come up for sale. Auction house staffers can generally gauge how many lots will be sold per hour and can give you a fairly accurate range of time.

When attending a live auction, find a location where the auctioneer can see you and you can see the other bidders. (The far back of the salesroom is always advantageous.) It never hurts to appear nonchalant, so that the bidding doesn’t escalate needlessly, but the most important thing is to make clear eye contact with the auctioneer. When you bid, hold your paddle up and be certain that it is not obstructed and that the staff can read your paddle number.

If you cannot attend the actual sale, you can still participate in the live proceedings by phone. Auction houses vary on phone bidding minimums, usually starting with lots more than $1,500. Having established your phone connection, a member of the auction house staff will call you within 15 minutes of the predicted lot time. It is always best to discuss with your phone bidder what your limits will be. Although you can change your mind as you go along, bidding happens rapidly. Your phone bidder cannot hold up the auction while you are considering your next bid.

You may also leave an absentee order bid by phone or at the preview. The auctioneer will place your bid in his book and when your lot comes up he will auction your bid against the “live” bids in the room or on the phones.

It is not unusual for 10% to 20% of the goods posted for auction to become “passed lots,” which are items that failed to draw the seller’s reserve price. Since auctioneers depend on commissions and want to move merchandise, “aftersale bidding” (known in the trade as “bottom feeding”) can help you snag great bargains. Directly after the sale, review the results and the list of passed lots that are posted on the auction houses’ websites. (Many enter results as the auction is in progress the notation “B.I.” is auctioneer shorthand for items that haven’t sold.)

If you are interested in an unsold lot, you should contact the department within the auction house that originally would have cataloged the piece. Although this takes a little more time and effort than a normal auction bid, it can be well worth your while. You can make an offer anywhere from 15% to 25% beneath the lowest listed estimate -- more if you are willing to risk being outbid -- and the auction house will contact the owner of the property with the offer. It’s a small gamble that can reap big rewards because after the auction, the consignor -- not the auction house -- has the final say.

Leslie Trilling, an appraiser of fine and decorative arts, is a past director for Phillips Auctioneers, Western region, and a graduate of the Sotheby’s Institute in London.

Lot 425: by Wayne Thiebaud, 1970, aquatint on paper, Edition No. 15/50, 30 inches by 25 inches


Going, going .

This is the first installment of an occasional feature that will highlight offerings at selected auction houses.

Over the past several years, Southern California’s auction houses have become so diverse in their offerings that it is now possible to purchase, often at bargain prices, antiques and collectibles such as Pop Art prints and paintings, centuries-old Etruscan sculpture or a full T. rex skeleton. Searching for Buccellati silver or a vintage MG roadster? Chances are you can find it or take a look at it without having to leave Los Angeles.

To begin, contact local and national auction houses and ask to be placed on mailing lists that will notify you of upcoming sales and events. Specify areas of collecting that interest you. Most auction houses publish glossy catalogs available for sale (which are often complimentary to previous buyers) and offer previews on their websites within two weeks before a scheduled sale.

Although catalogs and websites generally offer detailed descriptions, you can also request reports on the condition of “lots” (an item or group of items numbered and tagged for auction).

Whenever possible, examine them in person. Only you can determine whether the phrase “slight wear to finish” means a tabletop you can live with or have to take somewhere for restoration.

Generally, lots go on exhibit at an auction preview a few days before the sale. Previews are free, open to the general public and often travel to Los Angeles even if the auction is being held elsewhere. They are normally staffed with knowledgeable experts who can answer your questions.

Unlike a museum or gallery show, a preview provides a more intimate viewing experience even if you have no intention of spending a year’s salary on an Edward Weston photograph, you can still have the thrill of holding it in your hand. For that reason, previews are the best opportunity to make a thorough inspection of goods to be auctioned.

This is frequently a hands-on experience and it is not uncommon to see potential buyers -- armed with flashlights, magnifying glasses and jewelers’ loupes -- examining the backs of paintings, turning over chairs, and kneeling to look under tables.

Auctions can be fast-paced and intoxicating, making it is easy to get swept up in the excitement and suffer buyer’s remorse as bad as any hangover. Therefore, it is always advisable to set a limit for your purchases. Remember that in addition to delivery or shipping charges you also will be required to pay an additional 10% to 15% commission to the gallery (known as the buyer’s premium) above the winning bid (also referred to as the “hammer price”).

It is always helpful to research the items you are interested in and learn how much they usually fetch. Online art and auction sites such as www.artnet.com www.askart.com www.artfact.com www.ebay.com also can be invaluable resource tools.

Catalogs and online auction previews always list estimates of the expected hammer price. Remember, these are only estimates. Most sellers set a “reserve price,” which is the lowest bid they will accept. Auctioneers are not allowed to reveal that price, but it is often 10% to 15% lower than the estimated sales price. Often it is much lower and sometimes there are no reserves.

You don’t need to sit through a whole auction to bid on that candelabrum that caught your eye. If you see an item during preview that you wish to bid on, ask a staff member the approximate time that your lot could be expected to come up for sale. Auction house staffers can generally gauge how many lots will be sold per hour and can give you a fairly accurate range of time.

When attending a live auction, find a location where the auctioneer can see you and you can see the other bidders. (The far back of the salesroom is always advantageous.) It never hurts to appear nonchalant, so that the bidding doesn’t escalate needlessly, but the most important thing is to make clear eye contact with the auctioneer. When you bid, hold your paddle up and be certain that it is not obstructed and that the staff can read your paddle number.

If you cannot attend the actual sale, you can still participate in the live proceedings by phone. Auction houses vary on phone bidding minimums, usually starting with lots more than $1,500. Having established your phone connection, a member of the auction house staff will call you within 15 minutes of the predicted lot time. It is always best to discuss with your phone bidder what your limits will be. Although you can change your mind as you go along, bidding happens rapidly. Your phone bidder cannot hold up the auction while you are considering your next bid.

You may also leave an absentee order bid by phone or at the preview. The auctioneer will place your bid in his book and when your lot comes up he will auction your bid against the “live” bids in the room or on the phones.

It is not unusual for 10% to 20% of the goods posted for auction to become “passed lots,” which are items that failed to draw the seller’s reserve price. Since auctioneers depend on commissions and want to move merchandise, “aftersale bidding” (known in the trade as “bottom feeding”) can help you snag great bargains. Directly after the sale, review the results and the list of passed lots that are posted on the auction houses’ websites. (Many enter results as the auction is in progress the notation “B.I.” is auctioneer shorthand for items that haven’t sold.)

If you are interested in an unsold lot, you should contact the department within the auction house that originally would have cataloged the piece. Although this takes a little more time and effort than a normal auction bid, it can be well worth your while. You can make an offer anywhere from 15% to 25% beneath the lowest listed estimate -- more if you are willing to risk being outbid -- and the auction house will contact the owner of the property with the offer. It’s a small gamble that can reap big rewards because after the auction, the consignor -- not the auction house -- has the final say.

Leslie Trilling, an appraiser of fine and decorative arts, is a past director for Phillips Auctioneers, Western region, and a graduate of the Sotheby’s Institute in London.

Lot 425: by Wayne Thiebaud, 1970, aquatint on paper, Edition No. 15/50, 30 inches by 25 inches


Going, going .

This is the first installment of an occasional feature that will highlight offerings at selected auction houses.

Over the past several years, Southern California’s auction houses have become so diverse in their offerings that it is now possible to purchase, often at bargain prices, antiques and collectibles such as Pop Art prints and paintings, centuries-old Etruscan sculpture or a full T. rex skeleton. Searching for Buccellati silver or a vintage MG roadster? Chances are you can find it or take a look at it without having to leave Los Angeles.

To begin, contact local and national auction houses and ask to be placed on mailing lists that will notify you of upcoming sales and events. Specify areas of collecting that interest you. Most auction houses publish glossy catalogs available for sale (which are often complimentary to previous buyers) and offer previews on their websites within two weeks before a scheduled sale.

Although catalogs and websites generally offer detailed descriptions, you can also request reports on the condition of “lots” (an item or group of items numbered and tagged for auction).

Whenever possible, examine them in person. Only you can determine whether the phrase “slight wear to finish” means a tabletop you can live with or have to take somewhere for restoration.

Generally, lots go on exhibit at an auction preview a few days before the sale. Previews are free, open to the general public and often travel to Los Angeles even if the auction is being held elsewhere. They are normally staffed with knowledgeable experts who can answer your questions.

Unlike a museum or gallery show, a preview provides a more intimate viewing experience even if you have no intention of spending a year’s salary on an Edward Weston photograph, you can still have the thrill of holding it in your hand. For that reason, previews are the best opportunity to make a thorough inspection of goods to be auctioned.

This is frequently a hands-on experience and it is not uncommon to see potential buyers -- armed with flashlights, magnifying glasses and jewelers’ loupes -- examining the backs of paintings, turning over chairs, and kneeling to look under tables.

Auctions can be fast-paced and intoxicating, making it is easy to get swept up in the excitement and suffer buyer’s remorse as bad as any hangover. Therefore, it is always advisable to set a limit for your purchases. Remember that in addition to delivery or shipping charges you also will be required to pay an additional 10% to 15% commission to the gallery (known as the buyer’s premium) above the winning bid (also referred to as the “hammer price”).

It is always helpful to research the items you are interested in and learn how much they usually fetch. Online art and auction sites such as www.artnet.com www.askart.com www.artfact.com www.ebay.com also can be invaluable resource tools.

Catalogs and online auction previews always list estimates of the expected hammer price. Remember, these are only estimates. Most sellers set a “reserve price,” which is the lowest bid they will accept. Auctioneers are not allowed to reveal that price, but it is often 10% to 15% lower than the estimated sales price. Often it is much lower and sometimes there are no reserves.

You don’t need to sit through a whole auction to bid on that candelabrum that caught your eye. If you see an item during preview that you wish to bid on, ask a staff member the approximate time that your lot could be expected to come up for sale. Auction house staffers can generally gauge how many lots will be sold per hour and can give you a fairly accurate range of time.

When attending a live auction, find a location where the auctioneer can see you and you can see the other bidders. (The far back of the salesroom is always advantageous.) It never hurts to appear nonchalant, so that the bidding doesn’t escalate needlessly, but the most important thing is to make clear eye contact with the auctioneer. When you bid, hold your paddle up and be certain that it is not obstructed and that the staff can read your paddle number.

If you cannot attend the actual sale, you can still participate in the live proceedings by phone. Auction houses vary on phone bidding minimums, usually starting with lots more than $1,500. Having established your phone connection, a member of the auction house staff will call you within 15 minutes of the predicted lot time. It is always best to discuss with your phone bidder what your limits will be. Although you can change your mind as you go along, bidding happens rapidly. Your phone bidder cannot hold up the auction while you are considering your next bid.

You may also leave an absentee order bid by phone or at the preview. The auctioneer will place your bid in his book and when your lot comes up he will auction your bid against the “live” bids in the room or on the phones.

It is not unusual for 10% to 20% of the goods posted for auction to become “passed lots,” which are items that failed to draw the seller’s reserve price. Since auctioneers depend on commissions and want to move merchandise, “aftersale bidding” (known in the trade as “bottom feeding”) can help you snag great bargains. Directly after the sale, review the results and the list of passed lots that are posted on the auction houses’ websites. (Many enter results as the auction is in progress the notation “B.I.” is auctioneer shorthand for items that haven’t sold.)

If you are interested in an unsold lot, you should contact the department within the auction house that originally would have cataloged the piece. Although this takes a little more time and effort than a normal auction bid, it can be well worth your while. You can make an offer anywhere from 15% to 25% beneath the lowest listed estimate -- more if you are willing to risk being outbid -- and the auction house will contact the owner of the property with the offer. It’s a small gamble that can reap big rewards because after the auction, the consignor -- not the auction house -- has the final say.

Leslie Trilling, an appraiser of fine and decorative arts, is a past director for Phillips Auctioneers, Western region, and a graduate of the Sotheby’s Institute in London.

Lot 425: by Wayne Thiebaud, 1970, aquatint on paper, Edition No. 15/50, 30 inches by 25 inches


Going, going .

This is the first installment of an occasional feature that will highlight offerings at selected auction houses.

Over the past several years, Southern California’s auction houses have become so diverse in their offerings that it is now possible to purchase, often at bargain prices, antiques and collectibles such as Pop Art prints and paintings, centuries-old Etruscan sculpture or a full T. rex skeleton. Searching for Buccellati silver or a vintage MG roadster? Chances are you can find it or take a look at it without having to leave Los Angeles.

To begin, contact local and national auction houses and ask to be placed on mailing lists that will notify you of upcoming sales and events. Specify areas of collecting that interest you. Most auction houses publish glossy catalogs available for sale (which are often complimentary to previous buyers) and offer previews on their websites within two weeks before a scheduled sale.

Although catalogs and websites generally offer detailed descriptions, you can also request reports on the condition of “lots” (an item or group of items numbered and tagged for auction).

Whenever possible, examine them in person. Only you can determine whether the phrase “slight wear to finish” means a tabletop you can live with or have to take somewhere for restoration.

Generally, lots go on exhibit at an auction preview a few days before the sale. Previews are free, open to the general public and often travel to Los Angeles even if the auction is being held elsewhere. They are normally staffed with knowledgeable experts who can answer your questions.

Unlike a museum or gallery show, a preview provides a more intimate viewing experience even if you have no intention of spending a year’s salary on an Edward Weston photograph, you can still have the thrill of holding it in your hand. For that reason, previews are the best opportunity to make a thorough inspection of goods to be auctioned.

This is frequently a hands-on experience and it is not uncommon to see potential buyers -- armed with flashlights, magnifying glasses and jewelers’ loupes -- examining the backs of paintings, turning over chairs, and kneeling to look under tables.

Auctions can be fast-paced and intoxicating, making it is easy to get swept up in the excitement and suffer buyer’s remorse as bad as any hangover. Therefore, it is always advisable to set a limit for your purchases. Remember that in addition to delivery or shipping charges you also will be required to pay an additional 10% to 15% commission to the gallery (known as the buyer’s premium) above the winning bid (also referred to as the “hammer price”).

It is always helpful to research the items you are interested in and learn how much they usually fetch. Online art and auction sites such as www.artnet.com www.askart.com www.artfact.com www.ebay.com also can be invaluable resource tools.

Catalogs and online auction previews always list estimates of the expected hammer price. Remember, these are only estimates. Most sellers set a “reserve price,” which is the lowest bid they will accept. Auctioneers are not allowed to reveal that price, but it is often 10% to 15% lower than the estimated sales price. Often it is much lower and sometimes there are no reserves.

You don’t need to sit through a whole auction to bid on that candelabrum that caught your eye. If you see an item during preview that you wish to bid on, ask a staff member the approximate time that your lot could be expected to come up for sale. Auction house staffers can generally gauge how many lots will be sold per hour and can give you a fairly accurate range of time.

When attending a live auction, find a location where the auctioneer can see you and you can see the other bidders. (The far back of the salesroom is always advantageous.) It never hurts to appear nonchalant, so that the bidding doesn’t escalate needlessly, but the most important thing is to make clear eye contact with the auctioneer. When you bid, hold your paddle up and be certain that it is not obstructed and that the staff can read your paddle number.

If you cannot attend the actual sale, you can still participate in the live proceedings by phone. Auction houses vary on phone bidding minimums, usually starting with lots more than $1,500. Having established your phone connection, a member of the auction house staff will call you within 15 minutes of the predicted lot time. It is always best to discuss with your phone bidder what your limits will be. Although you can change your mind as you go along, bidding happens rapidly. Your phone bidder cannot hold up the auction while you are considering your next bid.

You may also leave an absentee order bid by phone or at the preview. The auctioneer will place your bid in his book and when your lot comes up he will auction your bid against the “live” bids in the room or on the phones.

It is not unusual for 10% to 20% of the goods posted for auction to become “passed lots,” which are items that failed to draw the seller’s reserve price. Since auctioneers depend on commissions and want to move merchandise, “aftersale bidding” (known in the trade as “bottom feeding”) can help you snag great bargains. Directly after the sale, review the results and the list of passed lots that are posted on the auction houses’ websites. (Many enter results as the auction is in progress the notation “B.I.” is auctioneer shorthand for items that haven’t sold.)

If you are interested in an unsold lot, you should contact the department within the auction house that originally would have cataloged the piece. Although this takes a little more time and effort than a normal auction bid, it can be well worth your while. You can make an offer anywhere from 15% to 25% beneath the lowest listed estimate -- more if you are willing to risk being outbid -- and the auction house will contact the owner of the property with the offer. It’s a small gamble that can reap big rewards because after the auction, the consignor -- not the auction house -- has the final say.

Leslie Trilling, an appraiser of fine and decorative arts, is a past director for Phillips Auctioneers, Western region, and a graduate of the Sotheby’s Institute in London.

Lot 425: by Wayne Thiebaud, 1970, aquatint on paper, Edition No. 15/50, 30 inches by 25 inches


Going, going .

This is the first installment of an occasional feature that will highlight offerings at selected auction houses.

Over the past several years, Southern California’s auction houses have become so diverse in their offerings that it is now possible to purchase, often at bargain prices, antiques and collectibles such as Pop Art prints and paintings, centuries-old Etruscan sculpture or a full T. rex skeleton. Searching for Buccellati silver or a vintage MG roadster? Chances are you can find it or take a look at it without having to leave Los Angeles.

To begin, contact local and national auction houses and ask to be placed on mailing lists that will notify you of upcoming sales and events. Specify areas of collecting that interest you. Most auction houses publish glossy catalogs available for sale (which are often complimentary to previous buyers) and offer previews on their websites within two weeks before a scheduled sale.

Although catalogs and websites generally offer detailed descriptions, you can also request reports on the condition of “lots” (an item or group of items numbered and tagged for auction).

Whenever possible, examine them in person. Only you can determine whether the phrase “slight wear to finish” means a tabletop you can live with or have to take somewhere for restoration.

Generally, lots go on exhibit at an auction preview a few days before the sale. Previews are free, open to the general public and often travel to Los Angeles even if the auction is being held elsewhere. They are normally staffed with knowledgeable experts who can answer your questions.

Unlike a museum or gallery show, a preview provides a more intimate viewing experience even if you have no intention of spending a year’s salary on an Edward Weston photograph, you can still have the thrill of holding it in your hand. For that reason, previews are the best opportunity to make a thorough inspection of goods to be auctioned.

This is frequently a hands-on experience and it is not uncommon to see potential buyers -- armed with flashlights, magnifying glasses and jewelers’ loupes -- examining the backs of paintings, turning over chairs, and kneeling to look under tables.

Auctions can be fast-paced and intoxicating, making it is easy to get swept up in the excitement and suffer buyer’s remorse as bad as any hangover. Therefore, it is always advisable to set a limit for your purchases. Remember that in addition to delivery or shipping charges you also will be required to pay an additional 10% to 15% commission to the gallery (known as the buyer’s premium) above the winning bid (also referred to as the “hammer price”).

It is always helpful to research the items you are interested in and learn how much they usually fetch. Online art and auction sites such as www.artnet.com www.askart.com www.artfact.com www.ebay.com also can be invaluable resource tools.

Catalogs and online auction previews always list estimates of the expected hammer price. Remember, these are only estimates. Most sellers set a “reserve price,” which is the lowest bid they will accept. Auctioneers are not allowed to reveal that price, but it is often 10% to 15% lower than the estimated sales price. Often it is much lower and sometimes there are no reserves.

You don’t need to sit through a whole auction to bid on that candelabrum that caught your eye. If you see an item during preview that you wish to bid on, ask a staff member the approximate time that your lot could be expected to come up for sale. Auction house staffers can generally gauge how many lots will be sold per hour and can give you a fairly accurate range of time.

When attending a live auction, find a location where the auctioneer can see you and you can see the other bidders. (The far back of the salesroom is always advantageous.) It never hurts to appear nonchalant, so that the bidding doesn’t escalate needlessly, but the most important thing is to make clear eye contact with the auctioneer. When you bid, hold your paddle up and be certain that it is not obstructed and that the staff can read your paddle number.

If you cannot attend the actual sale, you can still participate in the live proceedings by phone. Auction houses vary on phone bidding minimums, usually starting with lots more than $1,500. Having established your phone connection, a member of the auction house staff will call you within 15 minutes of the predicted lot time. It is always best to discuss with your phone bidder what your limits will be. Although you can change your mind as you go along, bidding happens rapidly. Your phone bidder cannot hold up the auction while you are considering your next bid.

You may also leave an absentee order bid by phone or at the preview. The auctioneer will place your bid in his book and when your lot comes up he will auction your bid against the “live” bids in the room or on the phones.

It is not unusual for 10% to 20% of the goods posted for auction to become “passed lots,” which are items that failed to draw the seller’s reserve price. Since auctioneers depend on commissions and want to move merchandise, “aftersale bidding” (known in the trade as “bottom feeding”) can help you snag great bargains. Directly after the sale, review the results and the list of passed lots that are posted on the auction houses’ websites. (Many enter results as the auction is in progress the notation “B.I.” is auctioneer shorthand for items that haven’t sold.)

If you are interested in an unsold lot, you should contact the department within the auction house that originally would have cataloged the piece. Although this takes a little more time and effort than a normal auction bid, it can be well worth your while. You can make an offer anywhere from 15% to 25% beneath the lowest listed estimate -- more if you are willing to risk being outbid -- and the auction house will contact the owner of the property with the offer. It’s a small gamble that can reap big rewards because after the auction, the consignor -- not the auction house -- has the final say.

Leslie Trilling, an appraiser of fine and decorative arts, is a past director for Phillips Auctioneers, Western region, and a graduate of the Sotheby’s Institute in London.

Lot 425: by Wayne Thiebaud, 1970, aquatint on paper, Edition No. 15/50, 30 inches by 25 inches


Going, going .

This is the first installment of an occasional feature that will highlight offerings at selected auction houses.

Over the past several years, Southern California’s auction houses have become so diverse in their offerings that it is now possible to purchase, often at bargain prices, antiques and collectibles such as Pop Art prints and paintings, centuries-old Etruscan sculpture or a full T. rex skeleton. Searching for Buccellati silver or a vintage MG roadster? Chances are you can find it or take a look at it without having to leave Los Angeles.

To begin, contact local and national auction houses and ask to be placed on mailing lists that will notify you of upcoming sales and events. Specify areas of collecting that interest you. Most auction houses publish glossy catalogs available for sale (which are often complimentary to previous buyers) and offer previews on their websites within two weeks before a scheduled sale.

Although catalogs and websites generally offer detailed descriptions, you can also request reports on the condition of “lots” (an item or group of items numbered and tagged for auction).

Whenever possible, examine them in person. Only you can determine whether the phrase “slight wear to finish” means a tabletop you can live with or have to take somewhere for restoration.

Generally, lots go on exhibit at an auction preview a few days before the sale. Previews are free, open to the general public and often travel to Los Angeles even if the auction is being held elsewhere. They are normally staffed with knowledgeable experts who can answer your questions.

Unlike a museum or gallery show, a preview provides a more intimate viewing experience even if you have no intention of spending a year’s salary on an Edward Weston photograph, you can still have the thrill of holding it in your hand. For that reason, previews are the best opportunity to make a thorough inspection of goods to be auctioned.

This is frequently a hands-on experience and it is not uncommon to see potential buyers -- armed with flashlights, magnifying glasses and jewelers’ loupes -- examining the backs of paintings, turning over chairs, and kneeling to look under tables.

Auctions can be fast-paced and intoxicating, making it is easy to get swept up in the excitement and suffer buyer’s remorse as bad as any hangover. Therefore, it is always advisable to set a limit for your purchases. Remember that in addition to delivery or shipping charges you also will be required to pay an additional 10% to 15% commission to the gallery (known as the buyer’s premium) above the winning bid (also referred to as the “hammer price”).

It is always helpful to research the items you are interested in and learn how much they usually fetch. Online art and auction sites such as www.artnet.com www.askart.com www.artfact.com www.ebay.com also can be invaluable resource tools.

Catalogs and online auction previews always list estimates of the expected hammer price. Remember, these are only estimates. Most sellers set a “reserve price,” which is the lowest bid they will accept. Auctioneers are not allowed to reveal that price, but it is often 10% to 15% lower than the estimated sales price. Often it is much lower and sometimes there are no reserves.

You don’t need to sit through a whole auction to bid on that candelabrum that caught your eye. If you see an item during preview that you wish to bid on, ask a staff member the approximate time that your lot could be expected to come up for sale. Auction house staffers can generally gauge how many lots will be sold per hour and can give you a fairly accurate range of time.

When attending a live auction, find a location where the auctioneer can see you and you can see the other bidders. (The far back of the salesroom is always advantageous.) It never hurts to appear nonchalant, so that the bidding doesn’t escalate needlessly, but the most important thing is to make clear eye contact with the auctioneer. When you bid, hold your paddle up and be certain that it is not obstructed and that the staff can read your paddle number.

If you cannot attend the actual sale, you can still participate in the live proceedings by phone. Auction houses vary on phone bidding minimums, usually starting with lots more than $1,500. Having established your phone connection, a member of the auction house staff will call you within 15 minutes of the predicted lot time. It is always best to discuss with your phone bidder what your limits will be. Although you can change your mind as you go along, bidding happens rapidly. Your phone bidder cannot hold up the auction while you are considering your next bid.

You may also leave an absentee order bid by phone or at the preview. The auctioneer will place your bid in his book and when your lot comes up he will auction your bid against the “live” bids in the room or on the phones.

It is not unusual for 10% to 20% of the goods posted for auction to become “passed lots,” which are items that failed to draw the seller’s reserve price. Since auctioneers depend on commissions and want to move merchandise, “aftersale bidding” (known in the trade as “bottom feeding”) can help you snag great bargains. Directly after the sale, review the results and the list of passed lots that are posted on the auction houses’ websites. (Many enter results as the auction is in progress the notation “B.I.” is auctioneer shorthand for items that haven’t sold.)

If you are interested in an unsold lot, you should contact the department within the auction house that originally would have cataloged the piece. Although this takes a little more time and effort than a normal auction bid, it can be well worth your while. You can make an offer anywhere from 15% to 25% beneath the lowest listed estimate -- more if you are willing to risk being outbid -- and the auction house will contact the owner of the property with the offer. It’s a small gamble that can reap big rewards because after the auction, the consignor -- not the auction house -- has the final say.

Leslie Trilling, an appraiser of fine and decorative arts, is a past director for Phillips Auctioneers, Western region, and a graduate of the Sotheby’s Institute in London.

Lot 425: by Wayne Thiebaud, 1970, aquatint on paper, Edition No. 15/50, 30 inches by 25 inches


Going, going .

This is the first installment of an occasional feature that will highlight offerings at selected auction houses.

Over the past several years, Southern California’s auction houses have become so diverse in their offerings that it is now possible to purchase, often at bargain prices, antiques and collectibles such as Pop Art prints and paintings, centuries-old Etruscan sculpture or a full T. rex skeleton. Searching for Buccellati silver or a vintage MG roadster? Chances are you can find it or take a look at it without having to leave Los Angeles.

To begin, contact local and national auction houses and ask to be placed on mailing lists that will notify you of upcoming sales and events. Specify areas of collecting that interest you. Most auction houses publish glossy catalogs available for sale (which are often complimentary to previous buyers) and offer previews on their websites within two weeks before a scheduled sale.

Although catalogs and websites generally offer detailed descriptions, you can also request reports on the condition of “lots” (an item or group of items numbered and tagged for auction).

Whenever possible, examine them in person. Only you can determine whether the phrase “slight wear to finish” means a tabletop you can live with or have to take somewhere for restoration.

Generally, lots go on exhibit at an auction preview a few days before the sale. Previews are free, open to the general public and often travel to Los Angeles even if the auction is being held elsewhere. They are normally staffed with knowledgeable experts who can answer your questions.

Unlike a museum or gallery show, a preview provides a more intimate viewing experience even if you have no intention of spending a year’s salary on an Edward Weston photograph, you can still have the thrill of holding it in your hand. For that reason, previews are the best opportunity to make a thorough inspection of goods to be auctioned.

This is frequently a hands-on experience and it is not uncommon to see potential buyers -- armed with flashlights, magnifying glasses and jewelers’ loupes -- examining the backs of paintings, turning over chairs, and kneeling to look under tables.

Auctions can be fast-paced and intoxicating, making it is easy to get swept up in the excitement and suffer buyer’s remorse as bad as any hangover. Therefore, it is always advisable to set a limit for your purchases. Remember that in addition to delivery or shipping charges you also will be required to pay an additional 10% to 15% commission to the gallery (known as the buyer’s premium) above the winning bid (also referred to as the “hammer price”).

It is always helpful to research the items you are interested in and learn how much they usually fetch. Online art and auction sites such as www.artnet.com www.askart.com www.artfact.com www.ebay.com also can be invaluable resource tools.

Catalogs and online auction previews always list estimates of the expected hammer price. Remember, these are only estimates. Most sellers set a “reserve price,” which is the lowest bid they will accept. Auctioneers are not allowed to reveal that price, but it is often 10% to 15% lower than the estimated sales price. Often it is much lower and sometimes there are no reserves.

You don’t need to sit through a whole auction to bid on that candelabrum that caught your eye. If you see an item during preview that you wish to bid on, ask a staff member the approximate time that your lot could be expected to come up for sale. Auction house staffers can generally gauge how many lots will be sold per hour and can give you a fairly accurate range of time.

When attending a live auction, find a location where the auctioneer can see you and you can see the other bidders. (The far back of the salesroom is always advantageous.) It never hurts to appear nonchalant, so that the bidding doesn’t escalate needlessly, but the most important thing is to make clear eye contact with the auctioneer. When you bid, hold your paddle up and be certain that it is not obstructed and that the staff can read your paddle number.

If you cannot attend the actual sale, you can still participate in the live proceedings by phone. Auction houses vary on phone bidding minimums, usually starting with lots more than $1,500. Having established your phone connection, a member of the auction house staff will call you within 15 minutes of the predicted lot time. It is always best to discuss with your phone bidder what your limits will be. Although you can change your mind as you go along, bidding happens rapidly. Your phone bidder cannot hold up the auction while you are considering your next bid.

You may also leave an absentee order bid by phone or at the preview. The auctioneer will place your bid in his book and when your lot comes up he will auction your bid against the “live” bids in the room or on the phones.

It is not unusual for 10% to 20% of the goods posted for auction to become “passed lots,” which are items that failed to draw the seller’s reserve price. Since auctioneers depend on commissions and want to move merchandise, “aftersale bidding” (known in the trade as “bottom feeding”) can help you snag great bargains. Directly after the sale, review the results and the list of passed lots that are posted on the auction houses’ websites. (Many enter results as the auction is in progress the notation “B.I.” is auctioneer shorthand for items that haven’t sold.)

If you are interested in an unsold lot, you should contact the department within the auction house that originally would have cataloged the piece. Although this takes a little more time and effort than a normal auction bid, it can be well worth your while. You can make an offer anywhere from 15% to 25% beneath the lowest listed estimate -- more if you are willing to risk being outbid -- and the auction house will contact the owner of the property with the offer. It’s a small gamble that can reap big rewards because after the auction, the consignor -- not the auction house -- has the final say.

Leslie Trilling, an appraiser of fine and decorative arts, is a past director for Phillips Auctioneers, Western region, and a graduate of the Sotheby’s Institute in London.

Lot 425: by Wayne Thiebaud, 1970, aquatint on paper, Edition No. 15/50, 30 inches by 25 inches


Going, going .

This is the first installment of an occasional feature that will highlight offerings at selected auction houses.

Over the past several years, Southern California’s auction houses have become so diverse in their offerings that it is now possible to purchase, often at bargain prices, antiques and collectibles such as Pop Art prints and paintings, centuries-old Etruscan sculpture or a full T. rex skeleton. Searching for Buccellati silver or a vintage MG roadster? Chances are you can find it or take a look at it without having to leave Los Angeles.

To begin, contact local and national auction houses and ask to be placed on mailing lists that will notify you of upcoming sales and events. Specify areas of collecting that interest you. Most auction houses publish glossy catalogs available for sale (which are often complimentary to previous buyers) and offer previews on their websites within two weeks before a scheduled sale.

Although catalogs and websites generally offer detailed descriptions, you can also request reports on the condition of “lots” (an item or group of items numbered and tagged for auction).

Whenever possible, examine them in person. Only you can determine whether the phrase “slight wear to finish” means a tabletop you can live with or have to take somewhere for restoration.

Generally, lots go on exhibit at an auction preview a few days before the sale. Previews are free, open to the general public and often travel to Los Angeles even if the auction is being held elsewhere. They are normally staffed with knowledgeable experts who can answer your questions.

Unlike a museum or gallery show, a preview provides a more intimate viewing experience even if you have no intention of spending a year’s salary on an Edward Weston photograph, you can still have the thrill of holding it in your hand. For that reason, previews are the best opportunity to make a thorough inspection of goods to be auctioned.

This is frequently a hands-on experience and it is not uncommon to see potential buyers -- armed with flashlights, magnifying glasses and jewelers’ loupes -- examining the backs of paintings, turning over chairs, and kneeling to look under tables.

Auctions can be fast-paced and intoxicating, making it is easy to get swept up in the excitement and suffer buyer’s remorse as bad as any hangover. Therefore, it is always advisable to set a limit for your purchases. Remember that in addition to delivery or shipping charges you also will be required to pay an additional 10% to 15% commission to the gallery (known as the buyer’s premium) above the winning bid (also referred to as the “hammer price”).

It is always helpful to research the items you are interested in and learn how much they usually fetch. Online art and auction sites such as www.artnet.com www.askart.com www.artfact.com www.ebay.com also can be invaluable resource tools.

Catalogs and online auction previews always list estimates of the expected hammer price. Remember, these are only estimates. Most sellers set a “reserve price,” which is the lowest bid they will accept. Auctioneers are not allowed to reveal that price, but it is often 10% to 15% lower than the estimated sales price. Often it is much lower and sometimes there are no reserves.

You don’t need to sit through a whole auction to bid on that candelabrum that caught your eye. If you see an item during preview that you wish to bid on, ask a staff member the approximate time that your lot could be expected to come up for sale. Auction house staffers can generally gauge how many lots will be sold per hour and can give you a fairly accurate range of time.

When attending a live auction, find a location where the auctioneer can see you and you can see the other bidders. (The far back of the salesroom is always advantageous.) It never hurts to appear nonchalant, so that the bidding doesn’t escalate needlessly, but the most important thing is to make clear eye contact with the auctioneer. When you bid, hold your paddle up and be certain that it is not obstructed and that the staff can read your paddle number.

If you cannot attend the actual sale, you can still participate in the live proceedings by phone. Auction houses vary on phone bidding minimums, usually starting with lots more than $1,500. Having established your phone connection, a member of the auction house staff will call you within 15 minutes of the predicted lot time. It is always best to discuss with your phone bidder what your limits will be. Although you can change your mind as you go along, bidding happens rapidly. Your phone bidder cannot hold up the auction while you are considering your next bid.

You may also leave an absentee order bid by phone or at the preview. The auctioneer will place your bid in his book and when your lot comes up he will auction your bid against the “live” bids in the room or on the phones.

It is not unusual for 10% to 20% of the goods posted for auction to become “passed lots,” which are items that failed to draw the seller’s reserve price. Since auctioneers depend on commissions and want to move merchandise, “aftersale bidding” (known in the trade as “bottom feeding”) can help you snag great bargains. Directly after the sale, review the results and the list of passed lots that are posted on the auction houses’ websites. (Many enter results as the auction is in progress the notation “B.I.” is auctioneer shorthand for items that haven’t sold.)

If you are interested in an unsold lot, you should contact the department within the auction house that originally would have cataloged the piece. Although this takes a little more time and effort than a normal auction bid, it can be well worth your while. You can make an offer anywhere from 15% to 25% beneath the lowest listed estimate -- more if you are willing to risk being outbid -- and the auction house will contact the owner of the property with the offer. It’s a small gamble that can reap big rewards because after the auction, the consignor -- not the auction house -- has the final say.

Leslie Trilling, an appraiser of fine and decorative arts, is a past director for Phillips Auctioneers, Western region, and a graduate of the Sotheby’s Institute in London.

Lot 425: by Wayne Thiebaud, 1970, aquatint on paper, Edition No. 15/50, 30 inches by 25 inches