Whether you are looking to buy or sell fine art, Aspire Art Auctions can be of service. We pride ourselves on the quality of our service. Our knowledgeable staff guides both buyers and sellers through a few simple steps to ensure your ownership of a desired artwork, or a successful sale.

Selling at auction 


For prospective sellers at auction Aspire will provide you with a pre-sale auction estimate for your artworks. Once we have agreed on the auction estimate and reserve (a reserve is the minimum amount for which we are permitted to sell a work – this is a confidential figure agreed between Aspire and the seller, and is intended to guarantee you of a minimum figure) for each individual item, these works can then be included in one of our upcoming auctions, appropriate to your goods. A seller is subject to a seller’s commission of 12% and VAT, where VAT is charged on the commission only. The full amount due to a seller is the price of the work at the fall of the hammer (hammer price), less the commission rate and VAT. This commission ensures that your works are fully insured for the time they are with us. We will allocate a reserve price for each work to assure you of a minimum amount.

We produce an appropriate marketing and publicity strategy specific to your works. We advertise our sales to the most appropriate groups of collectors of South African art locally and internationally, making every endeavour to ensure that we achieve the best possible results for your art. We hold three auctions a year, two in Johannesburg and one in Cape Town. Consignments for these auctions close 6 weeks prior to the auction date.


Timed Online auctions charge a 10% seller’s commission, where VAT is charged on the commission only. This is the lowest rate in the local market.

Buying at auction


Prospective buyers at auction are subject to a buyer’s premium of 12% and VAT, where VAT is charged on the commission only. The full amount payable for a buyer at auction is the price of the work at the fall of the hammer (hammer price), plus the commission rate and VAT.


Timed Online auctions charge a buyer’s premium of 15% , where VAT is charged on the commission only.

Guide for bidders:
The following information is designed to guide prospective bidders through the auction process and explains how to bid at auction with Aspire. Our staff are happy to assist with any queries.

1. Identify your potential acquisition
Aspire holds three live auctions per annum, two in Johannesburg and one in Cape Town. You can subscribe to our printed catalogues to view all works coming up in an auction or alternatively, our e-catalogues are posted online approximately a
month prior to each sale; these are free downloads and give a full overview of each auction. Keep an eye on our website and social media platforms where we will provide regular updates regarding sale information and when catalogues are available to view online. The auction preview is open to the public.

2. The catalogue
The catalogue includes all information regarding the lot(s) being offered in a live auction (including artwork details, date, medium, dimensions, quantity of items in the lot, and so forth). Condition reports are not included in the catalogue, but may be requested by emailing However, as we are not qualified conservators, we advise that you view the lot in person to satisfy yourself as to the condition of a prospective purchase. Condition reports are not necessarily compiled by professional conservators unless otherwise stated.

3. Estimates
Aspire assigns a low and high estimate to every lot. These estimates give our opinion of value, bearing the following factors in mind: the sales precedent of each artist, the subject matter, the importance of the work within the artist’s oeuvre, the condition of the work and assimilates the accumulative totality of all of these factors. Each lot has a confidential reserve price agreed between Aspire and the seller of the lot. The reserve is the minimum price that will be accepted for a lot, any amount below which a lot will not be sold. The reserve price will not exceed the low estimate.

4. Specialist assistance
Our specialists are available to discuss any lot in further detail if you require additional information. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

5. Bidding with Aspire 
Bidding may be done in three ways, depending on your preference and availability during the live auction.

5.1 Live bidding in the saleroom
You can physically bid during a live auction by registering and bidding in the saleroom. You may register to bid prior to the auction (during the preview), or you can register on the evening of the sale.

If you cannot attend the auction, there are two absentee bidding methods available to you.

5.2. Telephone bid
An Aspire representative will phone you during the live auction: A trained staff member will walk you through the auction as it happens and you may instruct the representative to bid on a lot on your behalf. Don’t forget to send through your telephone bids at least 24 hours before the commencement of the auction to ensure sufficient time for processing.

5.3. Written bid (Absentee bid/Book bid/Commission bid)
Recorded bids entered into the auctioneer’s catalogue. The auctioneer will, in your absence, bid on your behalf, up to the maximum amount given by you. Should the bidding not reach your maximum bid, you will acquire the lot for one increment above the previous bid.

6. Payments, collection and storage
Payment must be made immediately after completion of the auction, as stated in our Terms and Conditions of Business, unless otherwise agreed with Aspire. Once payment for the purchased lot is made and cleared, you may take the lot or, arrange for collection. An Aspire representative will contact you the day after the auction to assist with logistics. If you are unable to collect the artwork within the allocated time – Aspire will arrange storage or delivery of the lot, which will be for your account. A courier company will contact you with quotes for delivery the day following the auction. Aspire will store artworks purchased at the auction under Aspire’s insurance for a limited time only (see our Terms and Conditions of Business). Storage and handling costs will be charged if the property is not collected within this time.

+27 11 243 5243

7. Commissions and fees payable | Live auctions
Buyers premium
Buyers will be liable for payment of the purchase price. The purchase price is the hammer price, the Buyer’s premium and VAT charged on the premium. Commission charged on any lot selling up to and including R20 000 is 15% (plus VAT). Commission charged on any lot selling in excess of R20 000 is 12% (plus VAT).

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