Conditions & Information


Mitchells carries on business with bidders, buyers and all those
present in the auction room prior to or in connection with a sale on
the following General Conditions and on such other terms, conditions
and notice as may be referred to herein.


In these conditions:
(a) ‘auctioneer’ means the firm Mitchells or its authorised auctioneer,
as appropriate;
(b) ‘deliberate forgery’ means an imitation made with the intention
of deceiving as to authorship, origin, date, age, period, culture or
source but which is unequivocally described in the catalogue as
being the work of a particular creator and which at the date of
the sale had a value materially less than it would have if it had
been in accordance with the description;
(c) ‘hammer price’ means the level of bidding reached (at or above any
reserve) when the auctioneer brings down the hammer;
(d) ‘terms of consignment’ means the stipulated terms and rates of
commission on which Mitchells accepts instructions from sellers or
their agent;
(e) ‘total amount due’ means the hammer price in respect of the lot
sold together with any premium, Value Added Tax chargeable and
any charges payable by a defaulting buyer under these conditions;
(f) ‘sale proceeds’ means the net amount due to the seller, being the
hammer price of the lot sold less commission at the stated rate,
Value Added Tax chargeable and any other amounts due to us by
the seller in whatever capacity and however arising;
(g) ‘You’, ‘Your’, etc. refer to the buyer as identified in Condition 2.
(h) The singular includes the plural and vice versa as appropriate.


(a) Bidders are required to register their particulars before bidding and
to satisfy any security arrangements before entering the auction
room to view or bid.
(b) The maker of the highest bid accepted by the auctioneer
conducting the sale shall be the buyer at the hammer price and
any dispute about a bid shall be settled at the auctioneer’s
absolute discretion by reoffering the Lot during the course of the
auction or otherwise.
(c) Bidders shall be deemed to act as principles.
(d) Once made, no bid may be withdrawn.
(e) Our right to bid on behalf of the seller is expressly reserved up to
the amount of any reserve and the right to refuse any bid is also


Bidding increments shall be at the auctioneers sole discretion.


The buyer shall pay the hammer price together with a premium
thereon of 20% + VAT at the rate imposed by law.


Value Added Tax on the hammer price is
imposed by law on all items affixed with an asterisk. Value Added Tax
is chained at the appropriate rate prevailing by law at the date of sale
and is payable by buyers of relevant lots. (Please refer to ‘information
for Buyers’ for a brief explanation of the VAT position.)


(1) Immediately a Lot is sold you will:
(a) give to us, if requested, proof of identity, and
(b) pay to us the total amount due in cash or in such other way as is
agreed by us.
(2) Any payments by you to us may be applied by us towards any
sums owing from you to us on any account whatever without
regard to any directions of you or your agent, whether expressed
or implied.


(1) The ownership of any Lots purchased shall not pass to you until
you have made payment in full to us of the total amount due.
(2) You shall at your own risk and expense take away lots that you
have purchased and paid for not later than three working days
following the day of auction after which you shall be responsible
for any removal, storage and insurance charges.
(3) No purchase can be claimed or removed until it has been paid for.


If any Lot is not paid for in full and taken away in accordance with
these Conditions or if there is any other breach of these Conditions,
we as agent for the seller shall at our absolute discretion and without
prejudice to any other rights we may have, be entitled to exercise all
or any of the following rights and remedies:
(a) to proceed against you for damages for breach of contract;
(b) to rescind the sale of that Lot and/or any other Lots sold by us to
(c) to resell the Lot (by auction or private treaty) in which case
you shall be responsible for any resulting deficiency in the total
amount due (after crediting any part payment and adding any
resale costs). Any surplus so arising shall belong to the seller;
(d) to remove, store and insure the Lot at your expense and, in the
case of storage, either at our premises or elsewhere;
(e) to charge interest at a rate not exceeding 1.5% per month on the
total amount due to the extent it remains unpaid for more than
three working days after the sale;
(f) to retain that or any other Lot sold to you until you pay the total
amount due;
(g) reject or ignore bids from you or your agent at future auctions or
to impose conditions before any such bids shall be accepted; (h) to
apply any proceeds of sale or other Lots due or in future becoming
due to you towards the settlement of the total amount due and
to exercise a lien on any of your property in our possession for any


All members of the public on our premises are there at their own
risk and must note the lay-out of the accommodation and security
arrangements. Accordingly neither the auctioneer nor our employees
or agents shall incur liability for death or personal injury (except as
required by law by reason of our negligence) or similarly for the safety
of the property of persons visiting prior to or at a sale.


Whilst prospective buyers are strongly advised to attend the auction
and are always responsible for any decision to bid for a particular
Lot and shall be assumed to have carefully inspected and satisfied
themselves as to its condition we will if so instructed clearly and in
writing execute bids on their behalf. Neither the auctioneer nor our
employees or agents shall be responsible for any neglect or default
in so doing or failing to do so. Where two or more commission bids
at the same level are recorded we reserve the right in our absolute
discretion to prefer the first bid so made.


The seller warrants to the auctioneer and you that the seller is the
true owner of the property consigned or is properly authorised by
the true owner to consign it for sale and is able to transfer good and
marketable title to the property free from any third party claims.


The auctioneer normally acts as agent only and disclaims any
responsibility for default by sellers or buyers.


The seller acknowledges that Lots are sold subject to the stipulations
of these Conditions in their entirety and on the Terms of
Consignment as notified to the consignor at the time of the entry of
the Lot.


(1) Subject to the next following Condition concerning deliberate
forgeries, any representation or statement by us in any catalogue
as to the authorship, genuineness, origin, date, age, provenance,
condition or estimated selling price is a statement of opinion
only. Prospective buyers are given ample opportunities to view
and inspect before any sale and prospective buyers must satisfy
themselves as to all such matters. Neither the auctioneer nor
its employees or agents nor the seller accept liability for the
correctness of such opinions and all conditions and warranties,
express implied or statutory are hereby excluded.
(2) Private treaty sales made under these Conditions are deemed to
be sales by auction for purpose of consumer legislation.


Notwithstanding the preceding Condition, any Lot which proves to
be a deliberate forgery (as defined) may be returned to us by you
within 21 days of the auction provided it is in the same condition
as when bought, and is accompanied by particulars identifying it
from the relevant catalogue description and a written statement of
defects. If we are satisfied from the evidence presented that the Lot
is a deliberate forgery we shall refund the money paid by you for
the Lot including any buyer’s premium (but not the amount of any
consequential loss, damages, expenses, of interest) provided that
(1) if the catalogue description reflected the accepted view of
scholars and experts as at the date of sale or
(2) you personally are not able to transfer a good and marketable title
to us, you shall have no rights under this Condition.


16. We shall have the right at our discretion, to refuse admission to
our premises or attendance at our auctions by any person.
17. Any indemnity or exclusion under these Conditions shall extend to
all actions, costs, expenses, claims and demands whatsoever suffered
or incurred by the person entitled to the benefit of it and the
auctioneer declares itself to be a trustee of the benefit of every such
clause so far as it is expressed to be for the benefit of its employees
and agents.
18. Any notice to any buyer, seller, bidder or viewer may be given by
first class mail or Swiftmail in which case it shall be deemed to have
been received by the addressee 48 hours after posting.
19. Special terms may be used in catalogue descriptions of particular
classes of items in which case the descriptions must be interpreted in
accordance with any glossary appearing within the catalogue.
20. Any indulgence extended to buyers or sellers by us
notwithstanding the strict terms of these conditions or of the Terms
of Consignments shall affect the position at the relevant time only
and in respect of that particular concession only, in all other respects
these conditions shall be construed as having full force and effect.
21. English law applies to the interpretation of these Conditions




1. Introduction. The following informative notes are intended to assist
Buyers, particularly those inexperienced or new to our salerooms.
All sales are conducted on our printed Conditions of Sale which are
readily available for inspection and normally accompany catalogues.
Our staff will be happy to help you if there is anything you do not
fully understand.
2. Agency. As Auctioneers we usually act as agents for the seller
whose identity, for reasons of confidentiality, is not normally
disclosed. Accordingly if you buy your primary contract is with the
3. Estimates. Estimates are designed to help buyers gauge what sort
of sum might be involved for the purchase of a particular lot. The
lower estimate may represent the reserve price and certainly will not
be below it. Estimates do not include the Buyers Premium or VAT
(where chargeable). Estimates are prepared some time before the sale
and may be altered by announcement before the sale. They are in no
sense definitive.
4. Buyer’s Premium. The Conditions of Sale oblige buyers to pay a
buyer’s premium of 20% on the hammer price of each lot purchased.
In addition, VAT is added to this premium (see below).
5. VAT. (*) indicates that VAT is payable by the purchaser at the
standard rate (presently 20%) on the hammer price as well as being
an element in the buyer’s premium. This imposition of VAT is likely to
be because the seller is registered for VAT within the European Union
and is not operating the Dealers Margin Scheme or because VAT
is due at 20% on importation into the UK. The double symbol (**)
indicates that the lot has been imported from outside the European
Union and the present position is that these lots are liable to a
reduced rate of VAT (5%) on the gross lot price (i.e. both the hammer
price and the buyer’s premium). Lots which appear without either of
the above symbols indicate that no VAT is payable on the hammer
price. This is because such lots are sold using the Auctioneer’s Margin
Scheme and it should be noted that the VAT included within the
premium is not recoverable as input tax.
6. Conditions of lots. Please not carefully the exclusion of liability for
the condition of lots contained in the Conditions of Sale. Intending
buyers have ample opportunity for inspection of goods and neither
the seller nor we as the auctioneers accept any responsibility
for their condition. In particular, mechanical objects of any age
are not guaranteed to be in working order. However, in specified
circumstances lots misdescribed because they are ‘deliberate
forgeries’may be returned and repayment made. There is a 3 week
time limit. (The expression ‘deliberate forgery’ is defined in our
Conditions of Sale).
7. Condition reports. We may be able to assist buyers unable to
view by posting or faxing a condition report, but these reports are
based solely on our own opinion and are for guidance only and no
responsibility is accepted for their accuracy. Intending buyers are
strongly encouraged to view. (Please see our Conditions of Sale).
8. Electrical goods. These are sold as ‘antiques’ only and if bought for
use must be checked over for compliance with safety regulations by a
qualified electrician first.
9. Export of goods. Buyers intending to export goods should ascertain
(a) whether an export licence is required and (b) whether there is any
specific prohibition on importing goods of that character because,
e.g. they may contain prohibited materials such as ivory. Ask us if you
need help.
10. Bidding. Bidders may be required to register before the sale
commences and lots will be invoiced to the name and address on the
registration form. Some form of identification may be required if you
are unknown to us. Please enquire in advance about our arrangements
for telephone bidding.
11. Commission bidding. Commission bids may be left with the
auctioneers indicating the maximum amount to be bid excluding
buyer’s premium. They will be executed as cheaply as possible having
regard to the reserve (if any) and competing bids. If two buyers
submit identical commission bids the auctioneers may prefer the first
bid received. Please enquire in advance about our arrangements for
the leaving of commission bids by telephone or fax.
12. Methods of payment. As a general rule any cheques tendered will
need to be cleared before removal of the goods is permitted. Please
discuss with our Office in advance of the sale if other methods of
payment are envisaged (except cash).
13. Collection and Storage. Please note what the Conditions of Sale
state about collection and storage. It is important that goods are paid
for and collected promptly. Any delay may involve the buyer in paying
our storage charges.

Mitchells Antiques & Fine Art, 47 Station Road, Cockermouth CA13 9PZ | Telephone: 01900 827800

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