With affluent collectors and art speculators converging in opulent salerooms to fight with one another for the best pieces of art coming to market, auctions have become the ultimate spectator sport in the art world, offering joy for the thousands of people who gather to witness the action. They also can set the tone for the art market, with successful sales signalling that the boom will continue and poor-performing auctions eroding trust across the art world, among other things. They are very entertaining to witness for those unfamiliar with them, with record prices generating gasps and cheers and celebrity bidders making a commotion. Art auctions in Australia might seem to be impenetrable riddles to those not conversant with the complex logic that underpins them. The following glossary of auction terminology has been developed to disseminate the delights of art auctions to as many people as possible. It explains how these glitzy competitions function.

  • The auctioneer is the master of ceremonies for sale. A superb showman (or lady), frequently British at the tonier houses, can offer excellent prices from even the most hesitant bidders by comedy and great drama. In addition to a trademark style, each auctioneer has their personality. The younger generation of modern art travellers may trend towards the edgy and aggressive (sometimes in the manner of Guy Fieri).
  • With the auctioneer’s Excalibur in hand, held as a hybrid of the orchestral conductor’s baton and the courtroom judge’s gavel, the hammer signals the conclusion of a sale. It may come down lightly or with a thunderous thud.
  • When the auctioneer is on the auction block, the hammer is regularly thwacked on the podium behind which the auctioneer is standing. When an artwork is put up for auction, it is referred to as “going on the block,” albeit in practice. The artwork is shown by white-gloved handlers who strut out in front of the auctioneer or on a screen behind him.
  • In addition to the ping-pong paddle, these numbered devices may be used to telegraph bids, though many high-flying purchasers prefer a more discrete technique alerting the auctioneer using a series of signals that they have established in advance. A simple nod may be used, or a complex language with various bidding expressions can be used.



The auction house in Australia gives every item in an auction sale a price estimate. They are calculated by in-house specialists who investigate the artist’s previous auction results, the artwork’s condition and importance, and macroeconomic trends to estimate the piece’s market worth as accurately as possible. Before bidding begins, you may filter lots according to their estimated values, enabling you to concentrate on just the artworks that are within your price range.

Comparables in the market

In contrast to gallery sales, many historical auction results are accessible to the public and may be used to guide your bidding selections in the future.

Auction houses in Australia like to offer artworks by artists with a thriving auction market because it allows them to better forecast whether or not a piece will sell and at what price. If you consider bidding on artwork at auction, probably, a comparable piece by the same artist has just sold at a higher price. When bidding, you may look into these selling prices and use them as benchmarks to ensure that your offer follows market value.

Timeliness and simplicity

It is possible to follow lots from several auction houses in a single app, as well as to secretly bid on your favourite items from anywhere in the globe. Auction sales are speedy sales, so auctions are a fantastic way to start your search if you need to acquire art quickly.

In-House Research Art Auctions in Australia have specialised teams of in-house specialists that research the art in their auctions, giving you additional confidence regarding the authenticity of a piece. They also provide specialist support.

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