Bidding from Europe with Aspire Art Auctions

23 May 2019

You may think that bidding from Europe with Aspire Art Auctions in Johannesburg or Cape Town is expensive or complicated, but it’s not the case!

Here’s a useful checklist that shows you how easy it is to bid with us, whether you live in Paris, London, Brussels or Berlin!

Q: Is there a time difference between Europe and South Africa so that I can plan to follow the auction easily?

A: South Africa is in fact in the same time zone as Paris, and only one or two hours ahead of London, depending on the time of year. Our sale normally takes place on a Sunday late-afternoon/early evening, which gives you the option of bidding from home at your convenience.

Q: How do I bid on Aspire’s auctions?

A: Three options are available for you to bid from Europe on one of our sales :

  • Send us an absentee bid by email before the sale

This service is free and confidential. Members of Aspire team will represent you during the sale and will bid on your behalf, up to the limit of the amount specified in your absentee bid form.

The lots are bought at the best price, respecting the other bids and the reserve price. In the case of identical absentee bids, the first bid received will be preferred.

Absentee bids shall be given in Rands, the local South African currency.

  • Bid in person by phone

Given the limited number of phone lines available during our sales, it is necessary to make arrangements at least 24 hours before the sale to make use of this bidding service.

Once registered, members of the Aspire team will contact you at the number you have indicated a few minutes before the presentation of the lot that interests you and will relay your bids in the auction room.

When requesting a telephone bid, we recommend that you always indicate a backup absentee bid that we can execute on your behalf in the event that we are unable to reach you by phone.

Members of the Aspire team speak English and French.

  • Bid online

Our sales are broadcast on in Europe.

We also have an app which is a free download for iOS and Android devices, its called Aspire Art Auctions.

You can browse our catalogues, follow the sales and bid live on this site in Europe, making sure you are registered beforehand. After the sale, our staff will contact you directly to organize the shipping of your purchase.

Q: Is buying at Aspire from Europe expensive?

A: On the contrary, buying from Aspire is incredibly cost-effective from Europe.

There are several reasons for this :

  • Firstly, Aspire offers a very low buyer’s premium, of only 12% excl. taxes. This compares to an average of between 25% and 30% excl. taxes in the rest of the world!
  • Secondly, purchases made with Aspire that are directly exported out of South Africa are exempt from local VAT charges.
  • Thirdly, the export of works of art outside South Africa is done by Aspire, and a European VAT import charge of only 5.5% will be paid upon arrival of your purchase in Europe.
  • Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, prices in South Africa are in Rands, the local currency, which currently is valued at around R16 to one Euro. This makes for very favourable prices in Euro terms.

Q: How will I pay for my purchases?

A: Remote, value-for-money and secure payment solutions are easily available. With exchange rate transaction and transfer fees charged by so-called “traditional” banks being generally high, it is preferable to privilege transfer solutions like Paypal or TransferWise to pay your invoice.

Again, the Aspire team will be available on a dedicated basis to advise you and compare the available solutions.


Q: How will I transport my purchase?

A: We ship your purchases with all reputable international couriers and shippers, including DHL, UPS and others. The Aspire team’s at your disposal to organise the transport of your purchases with the minimum of delay.


Should your need further information, please contact :

Candice Osenat-Boutet

European Business Development

Mobile France : +33 6 73 66 47 26

Mobile SA : +27 60 644 8988

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