How do I buy in a LIVE auction at VAN HAM?

You have discovered an artwork that you would like to buy or you would like to know in general how to bid at an art auction? Here you will find all the information you need for a successful purchase - step by step from ordering a catalog to picking it up.

1. Before the Auction

Auction Catalogues

We will gladly mail you our latest catalogue which you may order by telephone +49·221·925862-13 for free. You may also order a catalogue subscription.


All items to be auctioned may be inspected at our premises during our preview. Our experts will be available for any questions you might have.

Condition Reports

Condition reports on single pieces are available on request (except for the sale "Decorative Art").

Upon request we will take photographs of individual objects and send it to you via e-mail. We are going to send you all required photos and information during the viewing.

Terms and Conditions

You can find our general Terms and Conditions here.

2. The Auction

Four possibilities of bidding


1. Personal

In the auction hall you can follow the event instantly. There you will receive a bidder's number for bidding in the hall after your registration.

2. By telephone

On lots with estimates exceeding € 500 you are also able to bid by telephone. We are happy to call you during the auction so you are able to bid on a lot "live" via telephone. To register for the telephone bidding please also use our bid form.

3. Written

Moreover you can also submit a written bid beforehand, on which the price limit which you are willing to pay for an object is listed. The auctioneer will then try to purchase the object by auction at the price most suitable to you. The stated highest bids (without additional fee) are only utilised until the limit prices are reached or until the hall bidders, respectively other written commissions are outbid.

You can either use the bid form, which you send to us signed, or the online catalogue which you can reach via our homepage.

Important information for new clients
Please use in addition to the bidding-form our form Registration for First Time Bidders and send it to us together with a photocopy of your identity card or passport.

4. Live Online Bidding

Via the link stated below you reach My VAN HAM. You can participate live and save in the auction, no matter whether you are at home or on your way. Participants may register online up to twenty-four hours prior to the auctions. Thereafter, you may follow the sale in real time from every computer, smartphone or tablet computer, and bid along for items of interest.


Via this link you reach the website My VAN HAM, on which you have to initially register. 


Note for new customers

If you want to bid for the first time at VAN HAM, please register at least 48 hours before the auction starts. 

For this purpose we need a copy of your identity card as well as the completed and signed form "First Time Bidder Registration Form". According to § 8 paragraph 2 of the Money Laundering Act, since 01.01.2020 we are obliged to exercise extended due diligence on all our customers.

Link to the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection

Accordingly, we must ask all our bidders to send us a copy of their valid identity card with front and back. If you only have a passport without a valid address, we would also have to ask you to send us a copy of a bill showing this (for example, an electricity bill).

Please send us the completed forms and the copy of your identity card by post, by fax to the following fax number +49 221-925862-4 or by e-mail to

You can also upload your ID using our encrypted form on our website.

 Please note our privacy policy on the processing of proof of identity.

Bidding steps

The objects listed in the catalogue will be offered for sale approximately 20% under the estimated price i.e. usually under the reserve. Auctioning will progress in 10%-steps (maximum); the auctioneer reserves the right to deviations.

Buyers premium

The buyer shall pay the bid price plus a premium of 32% on the first € 500,000 and a premium of 27% on all sums exceeding this amount. This includes statutory VAT, which will, however, not be listed separately due to the margin scheme as per § 25a UStG (German Sales Tax Act). A premium of 25% on the first € 500,000 of the bid price and of 21% on all sums exceeding this amount shall be levied on items listed as subject to standard taxation. Statutory VAT of currently 19% on the total of the bid price and the premium.

Dealers who are entitled to prior-tax deduction generally have the option of regular taxation. We kindly request these dealers to inform us before invoicing.

Items which have been temporarily imported from a fiscal third country are marked in the print catalogue with “*”. When VAN HAM hands over such items to the buyer, he/ she will become the importer and owes VAN HAM’s import VAT of currently 7 %. Items identified like this are subject to margine scheme and are thus offered under on-charging the import VAT as apportionment in the amount of 8%. Upon request immediately after the auction the invoicing for these objects can be issued with standard taxation and without such apportionment.

Artist´s Resale Right

Pursuant to § 26 ss.1 of the German Copyright Act (UrhG), the Seller is obliged to pay the droit de suite (resale rights tax) on the sales proceeds of all original works of art and original photographic works whose creators died less than 70 years before completion of the sale, where such works were sold via VAN HAM. The buyer shall bear a portion of this in the form of a lump-sum charge amounting to:

  • 1.5% of the hammer price up to € 200,000
  • 0.5% of the hammer price in excess of € 200,001 up to € 350,000
  • 0.25% of the hammer price in excess of € 350,001 up to € 500,000
  • 0.125% of the hammer price in excess of this price up to five million, up to a maximum of € 6,250

Warranty Right

Rules on the sale of consumer goods (§§ 474 ff BGB) do not apply Our auctions are publicly accessible auctions within the meaning of Section 312g (2) number 10) of the German Civil Code (BGB) in which we only sell used items. Therefore the regulations for the purchase of consumer goods, §§ 474 ff BGB, do not apply according to § 474 Abs. 2 S. 2 BGB. This means that the various special consumer protection provisions of §§ 474 ff BGB (e.g. certain notification obligations, facilitation of evidence) do not apply to a purchase contract concluded by you within the context of the auction. You are therefore not entitled to exercise the rights regulated there.

3. After Winning the Bid


The bills are sent in advance by e-mail and by post. We ask for a short message, if you do not want to digitally receive your bill in advance.


Payment of the total amount shall be made via Electronic Cash, by wire transfer or by bank certified cheque. Cheques shall only be accepted?on account of performance. Any taxes, costs, transfer or encashment fees (including any bank fees charged to VAN HAM) shall be borne by the buyer.

Payments in excess from 10.000 € per calendar year will be registered according to legal requirements. Payments can only be made by the person named on the invoice. Verified and issued invoices cannot be altered.

In the event of a delay in payment, delay interest shall be charged at a rate of 1 % per month begun.


Paid objects may be collected during the auction.

Would you like to pick up your items personally after the auction? By making an appointment ahead of time you will avoid waiting times. You can conveniently book your preferred date and time on your mobile phone using this link.

Please state your invoice number so we can prepare your collection. If you wish to have your purchase picked up by a forwarding company, it can also register with us using this link.

Please note: Your works can only be handed over once full payment has been received. If they are collected by a third party, authorization is required.

Objects not picked up four weeks after invoicing at the latest may be stored at the purchaser's expenses.

Objects from our ONLINE ONLY auctions can only be collected in Cologne by appointment. Please take into account that the lots are located in our external warehouse and collection may take up to 3 days for logistical reasons.


Exports to third (i.e. non-EU) countries will be exempt from VAT, and so will be exports made by companies from other EU member states if they state their VAT identification number. Persons who have bought an item at auction and export it as personal Luggage to any third country will be refunded the VAT as soon as the form certifying the exportation and the exporter's identity has been returned to the auctioneer. Our staff will be glad to advise you on the export formalities. Export to countries outside the European Community is subject to the restrictions of the European Agreement for the Protection of Cultural Heritage from 1993 and the Unesco conventions from 1970.


Upon receipt of a written shipment notification, the transport will be done by post, courier or shipper and will be insured upon request. Please check our shipping-cost-calculations.

Export licence

In case of a total value of goods from € 1.000 or more, an export licence must be submitted at customs office. For preparing these documents we charge € 25.

Auction results

Starting the first workday after the auction, you may enquire the results of the sale via our home page. The Lists of results and unsold items will be mailed upon request (telephone: +49 221· 925862-0).

After Sale

From the first day after the auction, the unsold objects may be inspected at our premises and may be purchased at the estimate plus premium.