Information for Buyers

About Bidding

To bid in person, allow enough time to visit the business office to complete a bidder registration card. By registering to bid, you (the bidder/buyer) acknowledge that you have reviewed and understand the terms of sale. You also acknowledge that immediately following the auction, you are prepared to pay the balance of the invoice accumulated throughout the course of the auction.

If you are not able to attend the auction, you may register to bid by filling out an Absentee Bid Form or by emailing

Until you have established a relationship with Weschler’s by bidding on a regular basis, and by demonstrating prompt payment and removal of property, you must register for a new bidder number before each auction. Bidder numbers are non-transferrable and, therefore, can only be used by the individual who registered.

Once you have established a relationship with Weschler’s by bidding with us often, and by demonstrating prompt payment and removal of property, you will be issued an annual bidder number. At this time, you will no longer need to register each time you arrive at an auction. Annual bidder numbers are renewed and issued in August.

The buyer’s premium is a percentage added to the hammer price of an item sold at auction. Be sure to verify the buyer’s premium prior to bidding.

Our Auctioneers execute and conduct the bidding by bidding increments. Typically the increments are as follows:

$1-$99                               Auctioneer’s Discretion

$100-$499                        $25 increments

$500-$999                        $50 increments

$1,000-$1,999                  $100 increments

$2,000-$4,999                 $200 increments

$5,000-$9,999                 $500 increments

$10,000+                           Auctioneer’s Discretion

An absentee bid is left by a bidder who cannot attend an auction. The bid represents the maximum amount the bidder is willing to pay for a particular lot, not including buyer’s premium. There must be a competing bid to authenticate the bid, therefore, the Auctioneer does not automatically start with the top limit of an absentee bid. A bidder can consequently win the lot for less than the top limit left on the Absentee Bid Form. If there are no competing bids, the Auctioneer may use his discretion and pass the lot, where it will be auctioned again at the next auction. In the event of identical bids, Weschler’s has the sole and complete discretion as to which bid to execute, but the first bid received normally will be preferred. Absentee Bid Forms are available online here and at the office.

Telephone bidding is offered as a courtesy to clients who can’t attend an auction in person.  For a telephone bid, a member of Weschler’s staff will call you from the auction floor to bid on your behalf for the desired lot.  Telephone bidding is available for our Metro Online Auctions and our Capital Collections Auctions.  Simply complete the absentee bid form, including the telephone number(s) where you can be reached on the day of the auction instead of your max bid.  As a guide, Weschler’s auctions proceed at a rate of approximately eighty lots per hour, and we will attempt to call you several lots in advance of your lot.  While we do our best to reach you during the auction, we cannot be held responsible for bad connections or missed or dropped phone calls. Contact Linda Niehaus for more information or to arrange a telephone bid. You can also complete our online bid form.

General Information

A lot is the unit of sale. The lot may be a single painting, a chair, a hundred-piece set of china, or a diamond necklace with a pair of matching earrings. There is no limit to the number of items that may constitute a lot. Items cannot be bought individually nor separated from a lot.

A list of lots is available on our website for each upcoming auction. To access a lot listing, click on the Bid Now tab in the upper right section of the header menu, scroll down to find the sale date, then click explore auction. Printed copies of the Metro Auction listings are also available at the office for a one-dollar charitable donation. The catalogues for our Capital Collections Auctions are available at the gallery during exhibition week and in advance by subscription.

The Clerk is the person on the floor who accepts cash payments for small purchases (during a Metro Auction). The Clerk is also the record-keeper, tracking the winning bidder and hammer price for each lot (the Auctioneer also records the winning bidder and hammer price for each lot; the two lists are compared to ensure accurate record-keeping).

The price realized is the hammer price plus the buyer’s premium. This number is the final price published in press releases and online highlights.

Information for Sellers

About Consigning

A consignment is an item or group of items offered for sale on the behalf of the owner (consignor/seller).

A representative from Weschler’s must review your property before it can be accepted for consignment. You may make an appointment to have your items reviewed at our gallery, email us photographs accompanied by descriptions, or arrange for an in-home visit with a specialist to have your property personally inspected (the visit fee is refunded if the agreed-upon property is consigned within three months of the visit). Email photographs of your pieces to, or call (202-628-1281) to schedule an appointment with a specialist. Weschler’s requires all consignments to have a total minimum auction value of $1000. If accepted, our specialists will determine the appropriate sale category for each of your items, with the goal of maximizing your profits.

See also: Request an Estimate or How to Sell

Weschler’s subscribes to a number of online databases which allow for us to check the auction records of comparable items which have been auctioned in the past. These databases are not free to the general public.

At Weschler’s, our goal is maximizing profits for our clients. Auctions allow for this to occur by offering items for sale in a competitive open market. In contrast, estate sales apply set prices to items. Weschler’s has specialists in many categories who research individual pieces, and, subsequently, help to ensure top dollar for your items by placing them in the appropriate sale categories. In addition, Weschler’s advertises sales both nationally and internationally through social media and/or print.

No, Weschler’s exclusively accepts items on consignment.

A reserve is the mutually agreed upon minimum price for which a lot will be sold and is confidential between the Auctioneer and the consignor. If a lot does not meet its reserve, it will not be sold. Property may also be offered without a reserve or at the Auctioneer’s discretion. Metro Auction items typically do not have reserves.

Types of Auctions

Metro Auctions take place at 10:00 am every Tuesday. Our Metro Auctions include fine quality furniture, collectibles, rugs, artwork, decorative arts, silver, jewelry, books, and household goods. Items included in our Metro Auctions do not typically carry a reserve (minimum). A list of lots is available on our website the Friday afternoon prior to the sale.

Metro Online Auctions take place at noon the first Tuesday of every other month. Each sale typically includes fifty lots, which are available for bidding through our website and Invaluable and AuctionZip (online auction platforms), in addition to in-person and absentee bidding. Metro Online Auctions allow the consignor (seller) to place mutually agreed upon reserves on the items being auctioned.

Timed Auctions are auctions usually focusing on specific collections or special-interest categories. All bidding for these auctions takes place online and is notated on our website by a red stopwatch under ‘Upcoming Auctions’. Timed Auctions have a designated end time, but that time is extended on a lot by lot basis as additional bids are placed. Once the bidding stops and time expires on an individual lot, that lot is closed/sold. Items in our Timed Auctions may carry reserves (minimums).

Capital Collections Auctions are high-end auctions which take place quarterly. Our Capital Collections Auctions include European and American furniture and decorations, paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, jewelry, coins, watches, 20th Century decorative arts, Asian works of art, rugs, carpets, and tapestries. A hard-copy catalogue accompanies each auction, and can serve as a guide for the items in the sale. The online version of the catalogue offers color photos, and is typically available three weeks prior to the sale. Items could sell for more or less than the estimated values provided in the catalogues.