Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Where can I bid ? How do I place a bid ? What is the meaning of »start price« or »liveauction« ? Find the answer to this questions and many others here. 

If your question hasn’t been answered then you can give us a call or mail us.


What is an auction?

During an auction certain items are offered for sale. The exact purchase price is not fixed previously but potential customers are able to place bids based on a fixed start price (minimum price).

Zemanek-Münster conducts classic auctions in the sales room with or without an online live bidding system, as well as internet time auctions, so-called timed online auctions.

In classic auctions (with or without live online bidding system) the contract of sale is concluded by the auctioneer's knock-down to the highest bidder after three calls.

In the case of timed online auctions, a contract for the purchase of the item is concluded between the auctioneer and the highest bidder after the deadline has expired.

The procedures and rules are subject to the law and they are listed in the ‚Versteigerungsverordnung‘ and the terms and conditions of sale; they are displayed at the auction house and printed in the catalogue as well as online.

Is everyone allowed to participate in an auction?

Auctions are public, but the bidders must be contractually capable and the auctioneer has the right to exclude individuals.

Is there an entrance fee?

Generally no entrance fee will be charged. At some special auctions it is occasionally required to purchase a catalogue.

Is there any dress code?

No, there are no standards regarding dress.

Before the auction

Must I already have a catalogue?

Most items offered at an auction are illustrated and described in the catalogue, so that the customer has a general idea of the item before the auction. It is not necessary to be in possession of a catalogue when taking part in an auction, but in case of any dispute it is not sufficient to maintain that the customer was not in possession of a catalogue.

How can I obtain further information?

If the information cannot be found in the catalogue then it is possible to obtain further information by telephone or by speaking personally to the staff of the auction house.

Can I see the objects before the auction?

Generally all items on offer can be viewed before the auction so that potential bidders can get an impression of the individual items.

Can I deliver items that can be sold at the auction?

The items do not belong to the auctioneer or the auction house but are brought by various vendors. In principle it is possible to offer every type of object at an auction, it must be observed though that to maintain quality standards not all items can be accepted and that certain delivery schedules must be observed.

How is the insurance fee calculated?

The current amount of the insurance fee is indicated in the Conditions of sale. The object is insured from the moment of estimating the limit until the object is picked up. If an unsold object is offered again in a later auction the insurance fee is calculated according to the modified minimum price.

Are there any charges for storage of the objects?

Unsold objects should be picked up by the Consignor in case that it will not be placed in a further auction. For storage, a fee per object per day or the rate of the storage company will be charged (see also Conditions of consignment).

During the auction

Do I have to place a bid when visiting an auction?

No, there is no obligation to bid for an item.

How do I place a bid? How is the bidding process?

There are several possibilities to bid: as

  • Bidding in person: To bid in person you have to attend the auction and collect a bid card with your bidding number.

  • Bidding via internet: After registering on our website you have the possibility to bid live online during the auction  

  • Absentee bid: also known as written bid, which must arrive before the start of the auction. It is possible to allow the auctioneer to make a percentage increase to the written bid. Bids via E-mail present a legal problem because it is difficult to verify who made the bid and also there is no signature. In spite of this it is possible when the bidder is known personally by the auction house or if the identity of the bidder can be verified.

  • Telephone bid: We provide an opportunity to bid 'live' by telephone if the customer is not able to personally attend the auction. It is important for bidders from foreign countries or overseas to be aware that the auctions are held according to Central European (Summer) Time. In case of bidding by phone and first of all we need the item you are interested in bidding. Then we have to know your complete address and your phone number (landline or/and mobile), so that we can contact you during the auction just ten lots before the item you are going to bid. When the bidder is unknown by the auction house, it is key as well that you will fill out the bid form that has to be faxed to +49 931 17736.

Concerning the bidding process: The prices listed in the catalogue shall be start prices and estimated prices. During bidding items are increased by approximately 10 % (for internet bidders see listed bid increments at their respective platforms). A lot is knocked down if no higher bid is made after three calls and the vendor’s minimum specified price has been reached.

Is it possible to cancel a bid?

A bid is obligatory and it is not possible to cancel it.

Is there a possibility of obtaining information regarding which bids have already been placed?

No, this information is not available to customers.

What is a start price?

The start price is a minimum price and simultaneously the price at which the item will be called. The start price cannot be equated with the estimate price and in no way should be seen as an indication of the actual value of the item.

What is a knock down?

A lot is knocked down if no higher bid is made after three calls from the auctioneer and the vendor’s minimum price has been reached. Personal, absentee and telephone bids as well as bids via Internet are all treated the same. If there are two written bids of the same amount the auctioneer draws lots. At traditional auctions the knock down is signalized by knocking down a hammer.

If the minimum selling price for a lot in an auction is not realized, the auctioneer may sell an object for a price below the minimum selling price, the so-called underbid. This underbid is subject to the condition that the consignor agrees.

Please note, that the know down price is not the final price.


After the auction

Are there any additional costs for objects bought in the auction?

An additional premium will be added to the knock down, as well as VAT resulting from the premium (see Conditions of sale).

Packing and shipping of objects is a non-binding service of our company we offer for a lump-sum within Germany and throughout Europe. Delivery to all other countries and overseas includes handling plus shipping depending on weight or volume (see Conditions of sale). Any bulky goods and international transports will be calculated on request and charged separately. The transport of any items purchased at the auction at the request of a buyer will be carried out at the buyer’s expense and risk. An obligatory insurance which covers risks associated with transportation is not included.

If it should be necessary to obtain CITES certificates for the purpose of granting special exemption from the prohibition of marketing objects covered by this Convention, then the cost thereof shall be borne by the purchaser. This also extends to certificates to export cultural property (see also Conditions of sale).

What kinds of payment are accepted?

Payments shall be made in EUR (€) immediately after invoicing. Payments by the buyer are generally only made by transfer to the auctioneer to an account specified by him. Non-cash payments shall only be accepted on account of performance upon special agreement. We do not accept payment by cheque.

Is it possible to have the purchased objects delivered?

If the purchaser is not able to collect his or her items, the auction house can arrange shipment at the purchaser’s cost. Details of such costs, and any resulting insurance charges, are listed in the Conditions of sale.

Do I have to insure the items for shipment?

In order to offer a convenient and safe transportation, the auction house has taken out an obligatory insurance on shipment; see also Conditions of sale

Is it possible to buy objects after the auction is finished?

After each auction an after sale is held for the duration of one week, when it is possible to buy unsold items for the start price plus additional premium as well as VAT resulting from the premium.

Where can I see whether objects are sold or unsold?

After the auction a results list is made available online, that shows which items are sold and which are still available in the after sale. The knock down prices are also listed here.

What is a vendor's account?

According to the conditions of sale the vendor receives an account containing the knockdown price with the commission and ancillary costs deducted.

What happens to the unsold objects?

Items not sold during the auction or the after sale, are either returned to their owners or they are offered in a later auction with a reduced limit.