Buying at Auction

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Your Guide to Purchasing Lots

If you have never bought at auction before, we understand that the process can seem strange at first. However, our aim is to make the process as simple as possible. We see many newcomers every month at our auctions, but rest assured, our team will be on hand to offer assistance.

Having a better idea of what will come before you step into the saleroom will certainly help, so please make sure to read this guide in full.

Important Information

All auctions are classed as ‘Trade Sales’ and the Consumer Rights Act 2015 does not apply to any auction. Buyers will not be covered by legislation that protects non-trade consumers.

All lots are sold without warranty or guarantee, though our auctioneers make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the catalogue and the item descriptions. Each lot is sold by the vendor with all faults, imperfections and errors listed in the description.

No returns will be accepted and no credit will be allowed for previously undiscovered defects.

A buyer’s premium of 20% plus VAT is charged on all lots purchased at auction. There is also a surcharge of 4.95% plus VAT for internet bidding.

All lots should be paid for within 48 hours of receipt of your invoice. Delays may arise with shipping if payment is not made within this time.

For bidders collecting from The Auction Centre, we accept cash and all major debit cards.

For absentee bidders not present in The Auction Centre, we accept BACS electronic transfer or GAP Payment Request via for live internet bidders. We are unable to accept card payments unless you are present in the auction centre.

British Toy Auctions is open for collections on the day of the sale, as well as the following day from 9.30am to 5.00pm.

Please remember that the lots purchased are at your own risk from the fall of the hammer. It is within your own interests to remove your purchases as soon as possible, preferably no later than close of business on the Tuesday following the auction.

We operate a local porter delivery service (small charge applies), and we also have an in-house packaging department to ship goods anywhere in the UK or abroad.


Public Viewing

It is recommended that anyone intending to bid at auction should thoroughly inspect each lot of interest before bidding, as no warranty or guarantee is given with anything that is sold.

The British Toy Auctions saleroom is open for viewing by appointment on the day immediately prior to each sale from 10am to 4pm. In addition, it may be possible to facilitate a private viewing in exceptional circumstances at other times.

It is recommended that absentee bidders who are unable to attend a public viewing should request a free Condition Report as early as possible prior to the auction, and in any event no later than one day prior to the sale.


Registering to Bid

In order to bid at any auction, you are required to register your details (name, address, postcode, telephone number and email address) with our Client Services office. You can do this by visiting our saleroom in person. If you are intending to bid online you can register by clicking on the saleroom link. You can also click on the Online Bidding button on our home page.


Live Internet Bidding

Our auctions are streamed online, and you can follow proceedings with live audio feed from the comfort of your own home. You will be able to place bids direct to British Toy Auctions during the course of the sale. Simply click here to do so. You can also click on the Online Bidding button on our home page.


Absentee Commission Bidding

If you are unable to bid during the auction, the auctioneer or another member of our Client Services team can bid on your behalf up to the maximum level that you have set.

This is a free service. Simply complete an Absentee Commission Bid form available at the Client Services office giving us your details, the lot numbers that you wish to bid on, and the maximum amount that you wish to bid on each lot. You can also opt to fill in our online bidding form for more convenience.

There is also a commission bid form on our website catalogue, or you may leave commission bids by phone or by email. We execute your bids as low as is permitted by the other bids or reserves up to, but not exceeding, your maximum bids.


Telephone Bidding

You can book a telephone bid on any lot where:

  • The lower guide price is no less than £80
  • Where no guide price has been published
  • When you are prepared to bid a minimum of £80

A member of our Client Services team will phone you shortly before the lot becomes due to take your instructions and bid on your behalf within the saleroom. Additionally, you should be able to hear the auctioneer’s voice at the rostrum.

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Free Collection Anywhere in the UK

Do you have a vintage toy or collectable that you would like to see placed in one of our auctions? We offer a free collection service* from anywhere in the UK, meaning you do not have to travel to Runcorn, Cheshire to enter your toys.

Get in Touch

*terms and conditions apply

Knowledgeable, Specialist Cataloguers

Our friendly and approachable team have decades of experience in the vintage toy and collectables market. Learn more about the people behind British Toy Auctions, as well as our specialist areas of interest.

Meet the Team


Brilliant auction with great toys. British Toy Auctions and the auction centre at Runcorn are the best!!!

Peter Sellers

This has just got to be the best auction house for toys in the UK! Super service and rapid delivery.

James Cookun

Excellent service! 5*
Would highly recommend.

Lucy Bretherington

Great service again today and really pleased with the lots I won.

Ian Parr

Used this auction house for the first time. Very good service and quick replies.

Alan Rawlinson