Q: At a wine auction, what is a consignor's fee?—Catherine
A: This is money that an auction house collects from the seller of the wine. A few auction houses, including Acker Merrall & Condit and Morrell & Company do not charge any seller's fee whatsoever. Other auction houses charge a consignor's fee (also known as a seller's fee) based on the sale price of a lot, but not counting the cost of the buyer's premium (the fee the buyer pays to the auction house). The remaining houses determine their fee on a sliding scale basis depending on the value of the individual consignment—or in some cases, the total value of wines consigned by the seller during the calendar year. Fees may range from zero to two percent for an extremely valuable offering, to 20 percent for a good, but not spectacular collection. It's wise to shop around to see which house is prepared to offer the best deal.