ABOUT Selling at Auction

About Live Public Auctions

Your collection will be sold to the highest bidder by our New York Licensed auctioneer. Your materials are examined by our experienced staff and maybe broken down into a series of separate lots to maximize their potential return. These lots are described, photographed and printed in our live auction catalogue.

Our catalogues

Our catalogues are distributed to buyers and agents worldwide and are also available to buyers on CD/DVD, posted on the internet and through other auction consolidation sites. Harmers provides our bidders with more bidding options and services than any other company in our industry, ensuring that bids on your lots will be maximized.

Sale Day

On the day of the sale, market conditions take over. The beauty of an auction is that your material will bring what the market deems it is worth, so long as the auction company you choose does a proper job. Next, your materials are sent to the purchasers.


After review by the buyers, occasionally some of your items may require certificates of authenticity. The process and time to obtaine certificates after an auction, is known as an “Extension”.


You will be paid the “Hammer” price less your seller’s commission. Auctions tend to bring the highest price, but require a longer wait for payment. If the delay is an issue in your circumstance, we offer the seller’s options to expedite payment.

Seller's Commission

Our seller’s commission ranges between 10% – 15% of the hammer price. Please note that an additional commission on the hammer price is payable ONLY by the buyer.

What the Auction Commission Provides

ADVICE – Detailed advice as to the best method and time of the sale.

PREPARATION – Preparation of collections or accumulations into individual lots for the greatest possible appeal to worldwide buyers.

PUBLICATION – Publication of catalogues describing each lot, with colour illustrations of more important individual items to attract bidding. Our catalogues are published in Print, on CD/DVD and on the Internet.

DISTRIBUTION – Our catalogues are distributed to a meticulously maintained world mailing list of stampdom’s most active buyers.

ADVERTISING – Advertising and publicity to stimulate the interest of collectors and dealers.

INSURANCE – Insurance (by Lloyds of London) to protect the value of your materials while in transit and on our premises.

ITEM RESERVES – Harmers does not charge a fee to establish a “reserve price” on any lot, all lots are reserved at 60-70% of the estimate. We do however retain the right not to offer any item for any reason.

CONCISE ACCOUNTING – A final statement clearly summarizing the sale activity making documentation of the sale simple.

PROMPT PAYMENT – All items not placed on “extension” will be paid in approximately six to eight weeks from the date of auction. Extensions are paid as they are cleared.

MULTIPLE PAYMENT OPTIONS – Payments can be distributed to multiple parties for no additional charge. Consignors are paid by check. Electronic Fund Transfer or PayPal payments can be made for an additional charge.

STAFF SERVICE – All service of the entire Harmer Staff of specialist experts and reference facilities.

Options Included in the Seller’s Commission

ADVISOR CONSULTATIONS – We will work with your Accountant, Legal or Spiritual Advisor to protect your interests or accommodate your particular circumstances.

CERTIFICATE OF SALE  Upon request, we will issue a certificate of sale, suitable for framing, commemorating the sale of the collection.

COLLECTOR’S BIOGRAPHY – If desired, we will publish a brief biography or Memoriam in the auction catalogue.

FAMILY ACCOUNTS – Harmers has used Family Accounts to effectively resolve disagreements between interested parties regarding the sale of a collection. Each member can be provided with a credit limit, allowing them to bid in the public auction on the items they want. Harmers does not charge for simple Family Accounts, but a fee may apply for complex accounts. – See other services for details.

What is Not Included.

EXPERTIZING – Where appropriate, and at Harmers discretion, items are submitted to prominent Experts or Committees for a “Certificate of Authenticity”. This certificate accompanies the lot and creates interest and bidding. There are several different committees with different fee structures. All fees for certificates obtained for material prior to the auction will be charged to the Seller’s Account.

POST SALE CERTIFICATES – Harmers makes every effort to obtain certificates on key items prior to the auction, and our staff of experts can usually identify questionable items. Having all items Expertized is not cost-efficient, but we do permit our buyers to submit items for expertizing within 30 days of the auction. All costs for Good certificates are paid by the buyer. The Seller must pay the certificate cost for items that are returned. The certificate is an investment in the item and both the item and the certificate remain the property of the Seller.

SHIPPING OF MATERIAL – While the Buyer pays for all costs to deliver the item to them after the auction, the Seller must pay to have their material sent to us and in the unlikely event items fail to sell, they must pay the cost to return the unsold lots. Hamers does insure the items while they are in transit to (upon prior notification) and from our office.

TRAVEL AND VALUATION – While Harmers does not charge for our time in an initial sales consultation, we do charge for our travel costs, unless the material is consigned to us. Often time we are able to consolidate our trips and do not need to charge travel costs. We will advise you prior to our visit if travel charges apply.

STORAGE AND INSURANCE 30 DAYS AFTER FINAL STATEMENT – A Seller must make arrangements to retrieve any unsold items within 30 days of receiving a Final Settlement for the sale. Items remaining on our premises after the thirty day period will be subject to a monthly storage charge as well as a monthly insurance charge.

OTHER FEE-BASED SERVICES – Other optional fee-based services, such as Appraisals and virtual collection documentation are not included in the Seller’s commission. – See other Seller Services.

ATYPICAL REQUESTS – Harmers will advise you, in writing, if you will be subject to any fees or charges other than those contained herein. We do not believe in “surprising” our customers with “Hidden charges”.

WITHDRAWN LOTS – Lots withdrawn by the Seller are subject to BOTH the Sellers commission and the Buyer’s Premium based upon the pre-auction estimate.

Advance Payments

Liberal advances are available for qualified properties.


Harmers retains public relations specialists to plan, prepare and place advertisements and publicity in all philatelic journals to attract buyers and stimulate bidding.

Promotional publicity is regularly provided to non-philatelic communications media such as business reviews, investment journals, national magazines and radio producers.


Buy-ins are NOT condoned and are subject to both the Sellers commission and the Buyer’s premium on the hammer price.

Finder’s Fees

Harmers does pay finders fees for material. Please contact us for details.