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  • Consignment/Appraisals:626-457-8818
Consignment/Appraisals 1-626-457-8818

Glossary of Terms

Absentee Bid

A method of bidding for those who cannot or do not wish to attend an auction. Absentee bids are also called “written,” “commission” or “order” bids and may be placed by filling out and submitting an Absentee Bid Form.


A formal evaluation of the fair market. Fair market value represents what Linwoods believes an item would bring at auction. Our Valuations department conducts appraisals by comparing your piece with similar, recently sold works, but no appraisal is definitive. You do not need a formal written appraisal in order to obtain a presale auction estimate.

As Is

Linwoods offers all property for sale at auction “as is,” meaning that the property is sold with all existing faults and imperfections. We encourage potential buyers to inspect each item carefully before bidding.


A trained professional who presides over the auction, initiating the sale of a lot by describing the item and starting the bidding. Once the first bid is made, others may offer higher bids. Bidders may be present in the saleroom, on the phone or online. Auctioneers also place bids on behalf of absentee bidders and finally determine when the highest bid has been made. If a work sells, the auctioneer announces, “sold.” If the item does not meet its reserve or there are no bidders, the auctioneer signifies this with a “pass.”


The amount a prospective buyer signals the auctioneer he/she would pay to buy the lot during bidding.

Bid Increment

The amount by which the auctioneer increases the bidding. Linwoods bid Increment shows below:



If there are no bids on a lot, or if bidding does not reach the reserve price, the lot is “bought in,” meaning it is left unsold and remains the property of the owner.

Buyer’s Premium

The amount above the hammer price that is paid as part of the total purchase price. 


Factual information about a lot offered for sale, such as the name of the artist or maker, a detailed description of the object, the year of its creation, its provenance (history of its ownership), major exhibitions in which it has appeared and publications in which it has been documented. This information is published in the auction catalogue, in both the print and online editions.

Condition Report

A written description of the condition of a work, prepared by Linwoods specialists prior to an auction.


The owner who is transferring property to Linwoods to act as agent on his or her behalf for sale.


Each lot is given a low and high estimate, representing the opinion of Linwoods experts about the range in which the lot might sell at auction. Estimates are based on the examination of an item and recent auction records of comparable pieces. Published in our online and printed catalogue, an estimate provides prospective buyers with an important preliminary guide to value and is generally the basis for establishing the reserve price.

Exhibition History

A listing of museum or gallery exhibitions in which a given lot has appeared. Inclusion in important exhibitions may impact the value of the object.


Another term for a Linwoods specialist who is an expert in specific fields of collecting and belongs to a department. 

Fair Warning

A warning sometimes given by the auctioneer that the hammer is about to come down on a lot. The fair warning offers one last chance to increase the bidding. If there are no subsequent bids, the auctioneer’s hammer falls and the sale is completed.


Another name for the auctioneer’s hammer used to close the bidding.

Hammer Price

The winning bid for a lot at auction. It is the price upon which the auctioneer’s hammer falls, determining the sale price, but does not include the buyer's premium.

Knocked Down

An auction house term for the hammer coming down and ending the bidding, as in, “The lot was knocked down at $1 million.”


Bidders could bid online through Liveauctioneers, Invaluable and 51Bidlive.


An individual object or group of objects offered for sale at auction as a single unit.


An object displaying the number assigned to a bidder when he or she registers at the auction. To place a bid, simply raise your paddle until the auctioneer acknowledges you. If you win the auction, your paddle number is recorded alongside your bid. To pay for your purchase, you will need to bring your paddle to the Payments counter.


Terms used by the auctioneer when an item fails to reach its reserve at auction.

Presale Exhibition

With specialists on-hand to answer all questions, Linwoods puts every lot from its sales on public display in the days before an auction. Exhibitions are free and open to the public. Please see our Auctions section for dates, times andlocations.


An important part of the authentication process, provenance establishes the chain of ownership back (if possible) to the date an item was created. Provenance can significantly impact the value of an object.

Reserve or Reserve Price

Never formally disclosed, the reserve price is the confidential minimum price agreed upon between the consignor and Sotheby’s. Reserves must be set at or below the low estimate, and if bidding ends before the reserve is reached, the property will not be sold.

Seller’s Commission

A commission paid by the consignor to Linwoods, which is deducted from the hammer price.


An expert in a specific field of collecting who belongs to a department. 

Telephone Bidding

Many buyers prefer to bid via phone, using a Linwoods representative who is present at the auction to relay bids to the auctioneer on their behalf.