International auction house Christie's has increased the buyer's premium for wine from 15% to 17.5% for wines sold in the United States.

The new rate came into effect on 1 January. The premium will drop to 10% on hammer prices over US$100,000. The first sale at which the new rate will be applied is 28 February, when Christie’s New York holds its first auction of the year. Christie’s Los Angeles also goes up to 17.5%.

This does not effect London or European rates, which remain at 10% in the London showrooms at South Kensington and King Street, 15% in Paris and Geneva, and 17.5% in Amsterdam.

The new fee for buyers brings Christie’s into line with major competitors Sotheby’s, which raised its premium for US auctions to 17.5% in April last year.

Among the other major wine auctioneers, Acker Merrall & Condit and Zachys currently charge a 16% buyer’s fee, while Butterfields and Morrell & Co charge 15% – as does Sotheby’s in London.

Written by Adam Lechmere7 January 2003