Seller's Frequently Asked Questions

Why choose Ritchies?
With over 40 years of experience, a team of knowledgeable experts, an unrivalled network of national and international buyers, and offices in Toronto, New York, Hong Kong and Dubai, Ritchies is the auction house of choice for discerning buyers and sellers.

As a seller you will benefit from our fully illustrated catalogues, our accessible and expanded website which illustrates all upcoming lots in colour, our popular online auctions service, and access to our international clientele. 

What if I have an entire estate or household contents to sell?
Ritchies staff are fully experienced and equipped to assess and handle any size of household. One or more of our specialists will meet with you on site to discuss the full logistics of sorting, vetting and valuing your objects. We can also recommend and arrange packing and cartage of your items, with fees deducted from the proceeds of sales. If a written appraisal is required, our team of experts will provide you with auction or probate values (depending on your needs), at an hourly fee.

How long does it take for my items to go to auction?
We have auctions happening at all times of the year to ensure that your goods are sold in a timely fashion. While modest value items will be offered in our Discovery Sales, more valuable objects may be held for up to two or three months, until an appropriate specialty sale is held. Consignment deadlines are generally 8 to 10 weeks prior to the sale date to allow sufficient time for research, cataloguing, photography and marketing. Your items are stored without charge while they are pending sale.

Are my items insured while they are at Ritchies?
Certainly. All articles consigned for sale are insured against all risks while on our premises and in the care of our staff or agents. The limit of liability is the reserve price, or 80% of the low end of the estimate. Our insurance fee is calculated on the mean auction estimate until sold, and on the hammer price after sale. In the event your item does not sell, the insurance fee is still applicable.   

What happens to my item if it does not sell?
We are often able to conduct a private sale on your behalf after the auction. If this is not possible, it is advisable to speak to the specialist in charge of your consignment about your options for re-offering or returning the item.

What is a reserve?
A reserve is a confidential minimum amount of money that you as the consignor will accept for your item at auction. Ritchies will honour the reserve and agrees not to sell the item below this amount. The reserve is always set at or below the low end of the estimate, and is never revealed to potential buyers. The reserve is mutually agreed upon by you and our staff at the time of consignment.

Where does the auctioneer start off the lot?
Generally speaking, the auctioneer will take opening bids at 2/3 of the low-end estimate. If there are multiple absentee bids on a lot, the auctioneer may open at a higher amount. Though the auctioneer may accepts bids that are below your reserve, the object will not be sold until it reaches the agreed upon minimum amount. The auctioneer will effectively be bidding on your behalf until the reserve is reached. If the piece fails to receive bids to your agreed minimum, the auctioneer will “buy-in” the lot and move on to the next one. Your piece remains unsold and will either be returned to you or re-offered.

How do I find out what my piece sold for if I can’t attend the auction?
The specialist handling your consignment will contact you within 2 to 3 days of the auction to give you the results of the auction. If you know your lot number(s), you can also access auction results on our website, or by calling our offices at (416) 364-1864 during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, between 9:30 am and 5:30 pm.

Will my property be charged sales tax?
In most cases, no tax is charged to the consignor.

If I am an HST registrant, will I receive HST with my consignment payment?
Yes. HST registrants are required to prepare a proper invoice against which payment will be made.

Where can I find a digital version of the standard Ritchies consignment contract?
The consignment contract can be downloaded here (PDF).

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