Jackson's Auction Blog

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September 15, 2016 11:09 AM
by James

Choosing an Auction House - A Helpful Checklist

September 15, 2016 11:09 AM by James | 0 Comments

Whether you are dealing with the estate of a loved one, a collection that you spent years painstakingly building, or even just an item you have come across and want to sell, an auction is an exciting platform to choose. 

Recently, I was working with a client who had several different auction houses vying for his collection and simply posed the question:  “How do I choose who to use?”

We told the client all of things he should look for in an auction house, and ultimately, he decided to sell his collection with us.  Since the list was helpful in this client’s decision making process, we thought it may be interesting for the rest of our clients as well.  As such, Jackson’s International has compiled a checklist for you to go through when considering different auction houses. 

We hope that you choose us, of course, but if not, we hope you choose a firm that has all of the following:


  • The auction house should be well established (having been in business for 25 years or more) and have a fine reputation in the industry. Jackson’s has been in business for 47 years and enjoys a sterling reputation and is known and respected by both buyers and sellers worldwide. 
  • The auction house should have a readily identifiable collector’s base for the items being sold. Jackson’s boasts an active, living, breathing, database of over 50,000 collectors worldwide.
  • The company should have a well-established marketing plan, including online platforms, but still include a printed catalog
  • The firm should have an actual brick and mortar building, not be holding auctions off-site (like in a hotel room). Our corporate headquarters is over 50,000 square feet, designed and dedicated to warehouse, catalog, photograph, display and of course sell, items at auction.  That’s all we do.
  • The auction house should employ a fulltime staff of employees who specialize in every facet of the process from accounting, client services, expertise in artifacts, marketing, packing, and shipping.
  • They should have a strong online presence, including a mobile-responsive website as so many more clients are now only viewing information on the web through tablets and smartphones
  • The firm should have the ability to pack and ship all the goods they sell. To speed up payment and insure quality control, Jackson’s is the sole shipper for every item we sell.  Indeed, within 24-48 hours of the last items to sell, invoices with packing and shipping charges are sent to all successful bidders
  • The auction house should have an average 10 year sale rate of 85%. That is to say, that over the last 10 years, less than 15% of items offered should have gone unsold.  Jackson’s 10 year sale rate is 93%.
  • They should have insurance coverage by an underwriter that specializes in fine art and antiques. Jackson’s utilizes Chubb – the best in the industry.
  • The firm should be able to easily accommodate 20 phone lines for phone bidding.
  • The auction house should also have the ability for buyers to participate in real time, live, via the internet.


While there is so much more that goes into making an auction house, and each individual auction, successful, feel free to use the above checklist when “interviewing” potential firms to help you bring your art and antiques to market.

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