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What is a "buyer's premium" in a wine auction?

Peter D. Meltzer
Posted: November 18, 2010

Q: What is a "buyer's premium" in a wine auction?—Keith

A: As part of their conditions of sale, all commercial auction houses levy a buyer's premium on the winning bid. In the U.S., buyer's premiums range from 18 to 22 percent of the purchase price, depending on the individual auction house. For example, if you won a lot for $100 and the buyer's premium was 18 percent, you would owe an additional $18. It's also worth noting that these premiums are not included in the auction houses' estimates for the lots, so remember to factor in this cost when bidding.

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