The most exciting thing about investing in antiques at online auction is the opportunity it gives you to find a standout, one-of-a-kind piece that fits perfectly into your home. Here we uncover how to shop for antiques on the web with confidence.


If you love the idea of seeking out intriguing heritage pieces, but struggle to find the time to visit specialist auctions and antiques shops, experts from are here to help. By highlighting the benefits of buying items at online auction, you'll be able to click with confidence!

How to buy at online auction

  1. Read carefully: Always ensure that you take the time to read the item's full description, remembering to look out particularly for measurements and dimensions. This will usually give you all of the details that you need to know about the item.
  2. Ask for advice: Ask the auctioneer for a condition report and extra photographs to assess the quality of the item without having to view it in person.
  3. Beware of restoration: Look for an item that hasn't already been over-restored as it will significantly decrease the value.
  4. Look for an investment: Try to push your budget to buy the best that you can afford - it may make a better investment for future resale.
  5. Consider your budget: Be prepared to fight for something you love, but it's always wise to factor all costs into your maximum budget. Don't forget buyer's premium, VAT and delivery costs.
  6. Be patient: If nobody bids at the auctioneer's first price, it will go down until someone takes the bait. Don't jump in straight away and you could grab yourself a bargain.
  7. Remember technology: If you know you'll be busy during the time the auction will take place, remember that you can place your maximum bid in advance and technology will do the rest for you!

Myths about buying at online auction

  1. You can buy an item by mistake: Don't worry, there is no chance of buying an item by mistake. If there is any confusion during bidding, the auctioneer will re-offer the item for sale if necessary.
  2. Antique means bad condition: Absolutely not! Remember it's style and shape that you are looking for - furniture can easily be reupholstered and restored to create a unique piece.
  3. All antiques are expensive: As long as you avoid the bigger, classical furniture makers, this isn't entirely true. You'll be able to find higher quality pieces for your money, which are often a fraction of the price of modern high street reproductions.

Image: Mallams Ltd, available on & Spencer Swaffer