Introductory Guide to Our Auctions at Conway Hall, London WC1



Our piano auctions are based in Central London at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holborn WC1R 4RL.

If you do not already have a catalogue you may buy one at the main desk for £5.00.

Viewing takes place for two days before and on the morning of the sale.

You may view and play all the pianos.

Once you have found one or more pianos you are interested in please ask one of our specialist piano advisors any questions you may have. You may also bring along your own advisor.

You can call us on +44 (0) 1234 831742 or +44 (0) 20 7242 2647 before the sale.

Please ask a member of staff if you are unsure of anything


All our bidding is done using a ‘Paddle Number’. You need to register at the main desk if you want to bid and then you will be given your number.

You can do this on the morning of the auction or on the viewing days beforehand by completing a Registration Form.

You will be asked for your:
+  Contact details and signature
+  Method of payment (see later section on payment)
+  How the piano will be removed from Conway Hall (see later section on removal)
+  How you heard about Piano Auctions.
+  Identification (passport, driving licence, credit card)

We will then give you your Paddle Number; this is your personal number to use when you are bidding for your piano.

The Auction

The auction takes place in the Main Hall. There is seating upstairs in the balcony and around the Main Hall. Make sure you can see the auctioneer, who will be on the stage at the rostrum, and then he can see you!

Bidding starts at Lot 1 and follows the numerical order printed in the catalogue and amendment sheet.

The auctioneer will start the bidding and will invite bids incrementally until the item has been sold. He will be looking out for bidders. The bidding ends when the auctioneer brings his gavel down. This final bid is called the Hammer Price.


The estimated guide price in the catalogue is just that. Some lots may go for more and some may go for less. Some lots may not reach their reserve and therefore remain unsold.

There are four ways to bid:

In Person You are in the room during the auction and bid for your chosen lot yourself using your paddle number.

Commission Bid. If you are unable to attend the auction, or are worried about bidding in person, you may leave a maximum bid on a Commission Bid form.  The auctioneer will then bid incrementally on your behalf during the sale up to the maximum amount you have chosen. If the final bid is less than your maximum bid you will only have to pay this lower price.

Telephone Bid. If you are unable to attend the auction you may follow the sale and bid by phone. You will be called a short time before your lot number is due. You will then be talked through the bidding on your chosen lot and given the option to continue or stop bidding.

Internet Bid It is possible to bid online during the auction through Please note make a 4.95% (plus VAT) charge for their service which we administer on their behalf.

+  Set yourself a limit. Remember to include the transport costs, Buyer’s premium and VAT (see below)
+  You need to be ready for the lot number you are interested in.
+  If you want to bid you need to raise your Paddle Number.
+  The auctioneer will acknowledge you are now in the bidding and will continue with the sale.
+  You can drop out of the bidding at any time (do not raise your Paddle Number).
+  If your bid is successful the auctioneer will take a note of your Paddle Number before moving on to the next item.

The final cost of your piano is worked out as follows:

Hammer Price + Buyer’s Premium + VAT on the Buyer’s Premium  = Total
+  Hammer Price (HP) is the final bid on the piano
+  Buyer’s Premium (BP) is 20% on the Hammer Price 
+  VAT on the Buyer’s Premium is 20% on the Buyer’s Premium

eg  HP of £500 + BP of £100 + VAT of £20 =  £620

     HP of £1,000 + BP of £200 + VAT of £40 = £1,240

     HP of £5,000 + BP of £1,000  VAT of £200 = £6,200

* Hammer Price + Buyer’s Premium + VAT on both (only on lots with asterisks*) = Total

Sometimes pianos are marked with an asterisk * in the catalogue. This is because VAT has to be paid on the entire Hammer Price as well as the Buyer’s Commission.

eg  HP of £500 + BP of £100 + VAT of £120 =  £720

     HP of £1,000 + BP of £200 + VAT of £240 = £1,440

     HP of £5,000 + BP of £1,000  VAT of £1,200 = £7,200

** Hammer Price + Buyer’s Premium + VAT on the Buyer's Premium + VAT at 5% on HP (only on lots with asterisks**) = Total

Sometimes pianos are marked with two asterisks ** in the catalogue. This is because the item has been imported from outside the EU and VAT is payable on the Hammer Price of that lot at the rate of 5%

eg   HP of £500 + BP of £100 + VAT of £45 =  £645

     HP of £1,000 + BP of £200 + VAT of £90 = £1,290

     HP of £5,000 + BP of £1,000  VAT of £450 = £6,450


All payments to be made in GBP (pounds sterling)

This needs to be done on the day if you are present at the auction.

Any outstanding payments must be received as soon as possible and certainly by the Tuesday following the sale. Credit and debit payments cannot be made over the phone.

Methods of payment

+  Cash
+  Debit card (payment cannot be made over the phone)
+  Cheque* :    ‘Pack & Hold’*
+  Bankers Draft
+  Bank Transfer:   The buyer bears the cost of the transfer.

* The piano will be packed and held by our carriers until the money has cleared into Piano Auctions Limited account

Removal of the Piano

All pianos have to be removed from Conway Hall by 1:00pm on the Friday after the sale.

We have carriers that guarantee to remove all pianos by this deadline. They are at Conway Hall on the day of the sale and will be happy to give you a quote and advice. You can also get a get a quote prior to the sale so you can take account of removal costs when bidding.

If payment in full has not been received by 12.00 noon on the Friday following the auction then your goods will be packed and held by one of our carriers. It will then be held by them until your payment has cleared into our account. 

Get a quote from G&R Removals or telephone (+44 (0) 1753 589080)

Get a quote from Butler Smith Specialist carriers or telephone (+44 (0) 800 085 0295)  

When obtaining a quote remember to check their loss & damage cover and terms and conditions.

Checklist for buying your piano at auction

*  Viewing
*  Advice
*  Registration
*  Bidding
*  Cost of piano
*  Payment
*  Removal

Buyer’s Terms & Conditions

These can be found in the catalogue or on our website under 'Buying'