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Bidding with Stair is simple and secure. Whether by paddle, phone, pen, or mouse, we strive to make bidding at Stair as convenient as possible.

Bidding In Person (not applicable as of March 23, 2020)

Attending our live auctions in person is the most exciting way to bid. You can register at the front desk in just a few minutes on the day of sale, but we suggest arriving half an hour before the auction. For first time bidders: just bring your best game!

Once the sale starts, the auctioneer will announce the lot on offer, going in the order listed in the catalogue, and then open the bidding. Bidding progresses in numerical increments (see table below). To place a bid simply raise your paddle. If multiple people bid at the same time, the auctioneer will acknowledge the first person to bid (it may be coming from someone on the phone or online). If no one tops your bid, the auctioneer will give ‘fair warning’ before closing the lot. He will then state the hammer price and the paddle number of the successful bidder.

Bidding Live Online

No matter where you are, as long as you have a reliable internet connection, you can follow and bid in our auctions live online, through,, or Please register to bid on the platform of your choice by 12pm EST the day prior to the auction, to make sure you have been approved.  We try to confirm registration right away, but it’s best to allow several hours. Please note, if you need an increase in your bid limit, contact us at least 24 hours in advance.

Please note the Online Buyer’s Premium differs slightly from the Premium when you bid directly with Stair.

Telephone Bidding

If you are unable to attend the auction in person, you can still bid live on the telephone with a Stair representative. One of our phone bidding team members will call you from the auction room a few lots beforehand. They will let you know your lot is coming up shortly and once the bidding on your lot begins, they will talk you through what is happening in the room. When they ask if you would like to bid a specific amount, please answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as quickly as possible – bidding moves at quite a pace!

Overseas bidders and clients bidding from a cell phone are asked to leave a backup bid, which will function as an absentee bid (see below) if we are unable to reach you.

Requests for telephone bidding must be made before the sale day.

PLEASE NOTE: As our phones lines are limited, we can only accommodate telephone bidders willing to bid at least within the estimate. If your maximum bid is below that amount, please leave an absentee bid or register to bid online on one of the online platforms.

Register to Telephone Bid Here

Absentee Bidding

Buyers unable to bid in person, online, or on the telephone can still participate by leaving an Absentee Bid. We will confidentially execute bids on your behalf, up to the maximum amount you request. If it is not an incremental amount, it will be automatically rounded down to the nearest increment (please see table below). We will continue bidding for you until your maximum bid is reached, or the bidding ends. If the other bidders drop out before your maximum bid, the lot will be yours for the amount that was reached.

Register to Absentee Bid Here

Bid Increments

Bid Amount Increment
Up to $200 $25
$200 – $500 $50
$500 – $3,000 $100
$3,000 – $5,000 $250
$5,000 – $10,000 $500
$10,000 – $30,000 $1,000
$30,000 – $100,000 $2,500
Over $100,000 $5,000

Buyer’s Premium

If you bid directly with Stair (either in person, by absentee, or by phone) the buyer’s premium you will pay is 23%.

Bidding Method Buyer’s Premium
In Person, Absentee, Phone 23%
Bidsquare* 28%
Invaluable* 28%
Live Auctioneers* 28%

*Please note these platforms charge an additional percentage, which we collect on their behalf.

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