Buying & Selling

Buying at Murrays

If you have never attended or bought at an auction before, you are in for an adventure! Before you get started we recommend becoming acquainted with the procedures of buying at auction.  Buying at auction is easy, and we aim to make it as simple and accessible as possible.  There are four different ways of bidding, including online through, coming to the sale, leaving an absentee bid or arranging a telephone bid if you can't attend in person.

Getting Started

Everybody is welcome as a spectator, buyer or seller at Murrays, and we encourage you to come and watch the action at one of our auctions. The best way to find out about auctions that might interest you is to check our online auction calendar or subscribe to our email list. All auctions have scheduled previews that are open to the public, which allow an opportunity to inspect the items that will soon be going up for auction. It's important to remember that items as sold as-is, which means you are responsible for verifying the condition of items. Our approachable staff will be available to answer any questions you may have about the items. All items sold at auction are used, so it is normal for items to have some wear and tear. If you are unable to attend a preview, our staff can assist you by telephone or email, and all items are photographed and available to view in our online catalogues. Additional photographs of items can be taken on request. It is important to note that all items sold are subject to our "Conditions of Sale" which is a binding contract effective as soon as you place a bid. Items are usually available to view in our online catalogues between 1-5 days ahead of estate or online auctions, and between 7-14 days before a specialty auction.

In the Saleroom

If you are thinking about bidding at a live auction it is important that you register for a bidding number or "paddle".   Registering for a paddle is free of charge and can be done at any time before or during the auction, however government ID is required. Because registering can take a few minutes, it is a good idea to do this before the auction, as you wouldn't want to miss out on something you want! The auctioneer typically auctions between 100 - 125 items (referred to as "lots") an hour. The auctioneer generally starts accepting bids at 1/2 of the low estimate, and will continue accepting bids in standard increments until there are no more bids. The auctioneer will announce a "last call" to give an opportunity for any additional bids, and finally will "knock down" the bid to the final bidder and pronounce the lot "sold." The auctioneer records the paddle number and final bid, also known as the "hammer price."

Online Bidding

Our Specialty Auctions and catalogues are available online on and you can create an account with them quickly and easily.  You can then watch and listen to the auction in real time and bid as and when you like from anywhere in the world.  Your bids will appear on a screen on the auctioneers' rostrum and will be taken exactly the same as if you were present in the room.  Foe online bidding there is an additional 3% fee charged by the bidding platform on top of the usual auction commission.  Once you have been successful in buying your item(s), we will take payment from the bank card you have pre-registered with Invaluable within 24 hours of the auction.  If you would prefer to pay using an alternative method such as a bank transfer or cash on collection, then this must be pre-arranged.

Telephone Bidding

This must be arranged prior to the start of the sale, just give us a call or email with your full details including at least one contact phone number (preferably a landline), and we will call you a lots in advance of your desired lot and you can bid through a staff member.  Your bids bids will be treated as if you were present in the room and the staff member will relay your bids to the auctioneer directly.  We will aim to give you an approximate time that your lot(s) will come up, so please ensure you are free to take the call.  Phone bids can be submitted online, but due to their popularity may only be submitted up to 2 hours before the auction, and are accepted on a first-come-first-served basis.

Absentee Bidding

If you can't get to the auction or guarantee being free for a telephone bid, an absentee bid is the standard and safe way to make sure you can bid for your lot.  Call or email in advance of the sale with your maximum bid amount and the auctioneer will bid on your behalf up to that bid.  The auctioneer will bid on your behalf and start at the lowest bid possible, the reserve and other bids permitting, he or she will try and buy the lot as cheaply as possible.  For example, if you leave a bid of $500 on an item and the bidding only reaches $300 in the room, then you would win the lot for the next increment, which would be $320.  You can also leave bids through our website up until 10 minutes before a lot is sold, or through, although all bids left through will attract the 3% additional fee they charge.  Check your online account or contact our offices following an auction to find out if you were successful!

After You Buy

We told you bidding would be exciting! Congratulations on your purchases.

If you're attending a live auction please make your way to the accounts staff who will generate an invoice detailing all purchases. Payment can be made by debit, Visa, Mastercard, certified cheque, money order, or cash. Once paid in full the item is yours -- you can show your paid invoice to a member of our staff and take the item!

If you purchased items online, please proceed to your invoices page and click the "Payment" link, or call our offices to pay over the phone.

Please note that all purchases are subject to a buyer's premium of 20% plus applicable taxes. For more information on the buyer's premium please refer to the conditions of sale.


If you can not pick up the item yourself, you must arrange shipping. Murrays provides an in-house shipping service for Southern Ontario, but you are free to arrange shipping with any shipper. However, shipping is the responsibility of the purchaser.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I find which of my bids were successful?

You can visit your invoices page, which will display any new invoices, and provides detailed information on any lots you were successful in buying.

Alternatively you can contact our offices by phone or email.

What are the bidding increments?

The auctioneer and online bidding software generally accepts bids that increase in standard increments. The auctioneer may deviate from the standard increments from time-to-time, but will always announce the next bid they are looking for.

Methods of payment

Payments made in person or via phone may include debit, Visa, Mastercard, certified cheque, money order, or cash. Payments made online can be made with Visa or Mastercard.

Payments for larger purchases can also be made by wire transfer. Please contact our accounts office for wiring information.

How is the final bill calculated?

All lots purchased are subject to a buyer's premium (typically 20%) and applicable taxes on top of the final "hammer price" accepted by the auctioneer.

When can I pick up my purchases?

Our galleries and offices are open 9AM to 5PM Eastern Time, Monday to Friday. Payment and collection of purchases can be made during normal business hours, or by appointment.

Selling at Murrays

How to Sell

Selling at auction is easy and simple. The first step is to get a free, no obligation verbal valuation on your items.  We host free auction valuation days at our saleroom in Pickering every Wednesday and Thursday 10am to 4pm. There is no need for an appointment as there is always valuers on duty.  Our valuers will advise you on auction estimates, recommend the most appropriate sale and issue you a reciept if you wish to consign.  Reserve prices can be discussed with our valuers and items can be left on this day for auction.  Or you can email us a photograph of your item and any details to and one of our specialists will get back to you as soon as possible.  We are also happy to make house visits at a time to suit you, so please do give us a call on 416-888-7364 to arrange.


Once you have made the decision to consign to Murrays, your items will be scheduled for a specific sale. A Murrays staff member will also provide you with a receipt for your consignment, review our terms and conditions with you, and review the commission structure and any additional applicable fees.

All items sold at auction are subject to a commission based on the hammer price of each lot.

Our selling commission structure is

$0 to $20                    50%

$21 to $50                  $10

$51 to $1000               20%

$1001 to $5000           15%

>$5001                        $10

Insurance                    +1%

Photography                Free

Items consigned to auction must also be insured. Consignors have the option of paying 1% of the hammer price to have their items insured through Murrays (while in our possession for auction), or clients may choose to have their items insured by their existing home insurance (proof of insurance may be required).

Payment To Consignors

Payment is made 8 business days after the date of the auction. Our detailed consignor statement will account for each item sold, as well as any fees applied.

Seller's Frequently Asked Questions

What if I have an entire estate or household to sell?

Our staff are experienced and prepared to handle estates of any size, from cottage to mansion. Contact our offices for more information on our considerate handling of estates.

Are my items insured while at Murrays?

All consigned items are required to be insured while in our possession, and are insured against all risks while on our premises and in the care of our staff. The limit of liability is the reserve price (typically 80% of the low end of the auction estimate). Our insurance fees are calculated based on the mean auction estimate until sold, and on the hammer price after the auction.

What is a reserve?

A reserve is the minimum hammer price that you, the consignor, will accept for your item at auction. The reserve bid is our contract with you - we will honour the reserve and not sell the item below that amount. The reserve is mutually agreed upon by you and our staff at the time of consignment.

What did my items sell for?

If you were not able to attend the auction and don't want to wait for your detailed consignment statement to arrive, you can check your statement online or contact our offices. However, staff will generally contact you within a week following an auction.

Will sales tax be applicable on my consignments?

No Sales tax (ex. HST) is not charged to the consignor.

Upcoming Auctions

Online Antique & Later Furniture Auction

Opens: January 20, 9AM
Closes: January 27, 2PM

Auction 1050 - Online Auction


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