Attending an Auction - What to Expect

  • Attend a preview. Once the auction begins, you can no longer inspect the lots.

  • On the day of the auction, register at the desk to receive a bidding number, and then take a seat.

  • The auctioneer will ask for an opening bid on the first lot. Bids will proceed in standard increments (see below), as they are accepted from the floor, the telephones, internet, and “absentee bidding” (written bids submitted prior to the auction). The auction proceeds in the order of lots printed in the auction catalogue.

  • Metcalf’s pace is typically 80 lots per hour. Due to the fast pace of the auction, you should be seated at least ten lots before the item you are interested in comes up.

  • When your lot comes up, be prepared to raise your number. The auctioneer will accept your competitive bids, along with all others until a final hammer price is reached.

  • Once you have completed bidding on all items of interest, return to the registration desk in your auction number and pay for your purchases.

Bidding at the Auction After carefully previewing and assessing the condition of the property of interest and reading, understanding and agreeing to our Conditions of Sale you may place a bid. Our bid increments are subject to the auctioneer’s discretion:

  • $0 – $200……………………………..$10
  • $200 – $500…………………………$25
  • $500 – $1,000………………………$50
  • $1,000 – $2,000……………………$100
  • $2,000 – $5,000……………………$200
  • $5,000 – $10,000………………….$500
  • $10,000 – $20,000………………..$1,000
  • $20,000 – $50,000………………..$2,000
  • $50,000 – $100,000………………$5,000
  • $100,000 – $200,000………………$10,000
  • Over $200,000………………………Auctioneer’s Discretion

Hammer Price and Price Realized

the “hammer price” is the winning bid amount. A “buyer’s premium” and sales tax (if applicable) are then added to the hammer price. The hammer price plus the buyer’s premium is known as the “price realized.”

Buyer’s Premium

Bidders should keep in mind that a buyer’s premium is added to the final hammer price. A buyer’s premium is an additional fee paid by the buyer/winning bidder at an auction. Normally the fee is a percentage (10 – 20%) added onto of the final bid price. Be sure to take these additional monies into account when placing an auction bid. At Metcalf, the buyer’s premium variable from auction to auction, and is advertised in the sale catalogue and posted the day of the sale.
Sales Tax

When applicable, state and local sales taxes will be added to the hammer price and buyer’s premium. Sales tax will not be assessed for items shipped out of state by a licensed shipper or those with a copy of a current valid U.S.-issued resale certificate on file at Terry Metcalf Auction Service LLC. Please contact our Accounting department at 479-361-8829 to file a copy of your resale certificate.


  • Live Bidding

    As stated above, our auctions are free and open to the public with no obligation for the attendees to bid. There is no need to come for the beginning of an auction and stay for the entire sale; you may come and go from the auction as you please. Should you choose to bid at the live auction, you must register for a number at the entrance to the salesroom either on the day of the auction or during the preview. If you pre-register at the preview, please visit the front desk to pick up your number on the day of the auction. Registration requires your full contact information and your signature agreeing to the Conditions of Sale, which states that all lots are sold “as is” and that a buyer’s premium and any applicable sales tax will be added to the hammer price. Once the auction begins, the auctioneer will clearly announce the lot number and bid increments as the bidding begins and proceeds. To place a bid, raise your number to the auctioneer for his or her recognition. When all of the bidding is through, the auctioneer will give fair warning, sell the item to the final bidder, and announce the price and number. When you are finished bidding on the lots in which you are interested, please return your number to the front desk, examine your invoice and make arrangements for payment and pickup.

  • Telephone Bidding

    Up to 48 hours in advance of an auction, you may fax in a request to bid on the telephone. Please fill out and fax back the Telephone / Absentee form. Upon registering, an experienced staff member will call you the day of the auction approximately five lots before yours is scheduled to be sold. They will communicate with you what bid the auctioneer is asking for and execute your bids at your discretion. If you are successful, an invoice will be mailed to you the next day. To expedite payment and receipt, you may call our Accounting department at 479-361-8829 the day after the sale to have your invoice faxed or emailed to you.

  • Absentee Bidding

    Up to 48 hours in advance of an auction, you may fax in an absentee bid. Please fill out and fax back the Telephone / Absentee form. The bid you leave is the highest price you are willing to pay exclusive of buyer’s premium and applicable sales tax. Absentee bids are always confidential, and bids are executed at the lowest price possible according to reserves and competitive bids.

  • Internet Bidding

    Buyers may conveniently leave absentee bids directly on our website through the online auction catalogue for any given sale up to 24 hours in advance of an auction. First time Internet bidders must Register to receive a client number and PIN prior to bidding. After you receive your client number and PIN, please fill out and fax back the Telephone / Absentee form.

  • Live Online Bidding

    All of our auctions are conducted in real-time on and other online bidding service providers including and For more information on live online bidding, please contact Client Services at 479-361-8829.


Forms of Payment

Terry Metcalf Auction Service LLC accepts cash, credit card, debit card, money order, bank check, and wire transfer as forms of payment. We reserve the right to not release property until a check clears the bank.

Removal of Property

Unless other arrangements have been made, all property must be removed from our premises the same day of the sale. Property not removed within seven business days will be subject to a storage fee as outlined in our Conditions of Sale.


Buyers assume full responsibility for the packing and shipping of lots won at auction. Our Recommended Shippers offer a wide variety of local, domestic, and international shipping options. As stated above, if a buyer has a purchase shipped out of state via a licensed shipper, applicable sales tax will be not be assessed. In the interest of our clients, we require a written authorization from the buyer in order to release property if anyone other than the person on the invoice will be picking up the purchased lot (including but not limited to our recommended shippers). You may print, fill out and fax the Shipping Release Form to:

Terry Metcalf Auction Service, LLC
772 So 48th Street
Springdale, Arkansas 72762
Or email the information to:


Where is Terry Metcalf Auction Service LLC located?

Terry Metcalf Auction Service LLC, is located at 772 So. 48th Street, Springdale, Arkansas 72762, although our auctions are held at various venues.

Can anyone participate in a Metcalf auction?

There is no charge to attend, and everyone is welcome.

Is buying at auction affordable?

Buying at auction is more affordable than you might think and provides an opportunity to purchase quality items at competitive prices. The idea of a “bargain” also changes as expertise grows. Higher-priced items often prove to be excellent investments based on their period, style, provenance, and/or rarity.

What are condition reports?

If you cannot attend the preview, Metcalf staff members can answer specific queries on the featured fine art, antiques, and collectibles of interest. The condition report can include details such as measurements and descriptions of damage or repairs.

What is a reserve?

A reserve agreement is a contract between the auction house and the seller, setting a minimum price at which an item can sell. Most property is offered without a reserve at the auctioneer’s discretion.

What happens if the reserve price is not reached on an item?

The auctioneer will “pass” on the item and withdraw it from the auction.

Why does Metcalf provide an “estimated range of value” for each object?

Metcalf’s estimates tend to be conservative and are based on what comparable items have brought in the past. This high/low price estimate is printed in the auction catalogue with the object’s lot number and description. Though not a guarantee, this estimate provides the seller with an expected range of auction value and the buyer with a guideline for potential purchase.

Does Metcalf provide storage for the objects that I buy at auction?

Metcalf requests removal of purchased property the same day as the sale. The buyer is responsible for transportation costs. Please see Conditions of Sale.

How do I ship items that I purchase at auction to a desired location?

Generally items are paid for and picked up from the auction site the same day as the auction. If you are unable to pick up purchased items at this time, please call 479-361-8829 to confirm property location and availability for pick-up. Shipping is the responsibility of the purchaser. Detailed information can be found at

Can I cancel the sale on an item if I change my mind?

All lots are sold “as is” according to our Conditions of Sale and are not returnable. Careful consideration should be made before bidding at auction.

I forgot to request a Condition Report and the item isn’t what I expected. What can I do?

All lots are sold “as is” according to our Conditions of Sale and are not returnable. Absence of a posted condition report does not indicate that an item is in perfect condition, and our staff is always happy to accommodate requests for condition status should time permit.

Where do I find information on restoration, cleaning or repair for something I purchased at auction?

Referral links for restoration, cleaning, and repair can be found on our resources page.

Can I just give authorization for someone else to pick up my item over the telephone?

We require a written release for all property not picked up by the purchaser. You may print, fill out and fax the Shipping Release Form to:

Terry Metcalf Auction Service, LLC
772 So 48th Street
Springdale, Arkansas 72762
Or email the information to:


Metcalf offers several ways to participate in its auctions, whether you are attending in person or bidding from the other side of the world. If attending, simply obtain a bidding number and join the auction-floor action. If you cannot attend, join live bidding via the telephone or internet. Absentee bids are also accepted by filling out a form at the auction preview or by telephone, fax, or email prior to the auction.

Be a Smart Bidder: Metcalf Catalogues, Previews, and Expert Advice

Printed Catalogues

Metcalf publishes approximately 60 catalogues each year for its specialized auctions. Catalogues contain object descriptions, photos, and estimated values determined by its experts.

Online Catalogues

For the convenience of our active international client base catalogues for upcoming auctions are also available online, free of charge. Click on a current auction listed on the home page to access current catalogues. Our online catalogue contains the same detailed information as the printed catalogue and clients may view enlarged photographs, track lots, place absentee bids or request additional information. The online catalogue is generally published on our website four weeks prior to the auction.

The Preview

The best way to obtain information regarding specific lots in an auction is to attend an auction preview to determine your bidding plan. Metcalf offers preview exhibitions which are free and open to the public several days prior to an auction and directly before the auction begins. The preview is your chance to examine, handle, and ask questions about the items that interest you. Metcalf’s expert staff will offer frank opinions of the quality, condition, provenance, rarity, and value of any piece. Go to Auction Schedule for times and locations of upcoming auctions. If you cannot attend a preview, Metcalf experts are available to answer questions by email, telephone, or fax and can email condition reports and photos. It is important to remember that all lots offered are sold “as is” as defined in our Conditions of Sale. Therefore, we strongly advise prospective buyers personally examine any property in which they are interested.

Condition Reports

We want our clients to be fully satisfied with every purchase made at our auctions, so we encourage potential bidders to gather as much information as possible regarding a lot. Our experienced team of specialists and associates may assist you in obtaining a Condition Report for lots with a low estimate of $300 and above in the following ways: Personally attend an auction preview, or send a trusted advisor, to discuss the property with a member of our knowledgeable staff.

Call our Client Services department at 479-361-8829 or

Conditions of Sale

All sales are governed by our Conditions of Sale. Please fully read and understand the Conditions of Sale prior to placing any bids. Any questions should be directed to our Client Services department at 479-361-8829 or with any questions.



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