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Auction Glossary

Absentee Bid (also known as Written Bid, Commission Bid, Order Bid, or Proxy Bid)

An ABSENTEE BID may be placed when clients cannot or do not wish to participate in the live auction, whether in person, via a telephone bid, or through live online bidding. Clients give Toomey & Co. Auctioneers the authority to execute their bid(s) on any instructed lot in a competitive environment, up to their maximum left bid. Clients may register either through their online account or contact us by email or calling us at (708) 383-5234.

Account Number

An ACCOUNT NUMBER is a unique number assigned to each client for buying and/or selling with Toomey & Co. Auctioneers. An account number is created the first time a client registers to bid or consigns property with the company.

As Is

All auction items are sold AS IS, meaning in whatever condition they presently exist, and the buyer accepts the items “with all faults,” whether or not immediately apparent. Toomey & Co. Auctioneers guarantees the authenticity of that portion of the description of each lot as set out in bold type in the catalog, as amended by oral or written salesroom notes or announcements, which guarantee is in effect for 30 days after the auction in which the item was sold. Said guarantee does not apply to those lots listed as: “in the style of,” “attributed to,” “the school of,” “in the manner of,” or “after.” Toomey & Co. Auctioneers is not responsible for errors or omissions in the catalog or in written or oral condition reports. All measurements are approximate. Toomey & Co. Auctioneers makes every effort to describe its merchandise accurately, but in the event that errors occur, Toomey & Co. Auctioneers shall not be held responsible. It is the bidder’s sole responsibility to be well informed before bidding.


An AUCTION is a public sale in which property is sold to the highest bidder through open and competitive bidding.

Auction Block

The AUCTION BLOCK is a podium or raised platform where the auctioneer will stand and conduct the auction.

Auction House

The AUCTION HOUSE is the physical location where the day to day business, auction previews, and auctions are conducted. Toomey & Co. Auctioneers is located at 818 North Boulevard, Oak Park, Illinois, 60301.

Auction Preview

An AUCTION PREVIEW is an public exhibition prior to the auction where the lots being offered are on display. Prospective buyers will have the opportunity to inspect the lots in person as well as discuss any additional questions with department specialists.


A BID is a binding proposal in an auction to buy property at a specific price. (Note: an absentee bid can be cancelled or amended until the time at which the auctioneer opens the lot for sale.)

Bid Increments

BID INCREMENTS are standard increments that the auctioneer will use to request competing bids at a given range of dollar value. It is important to be familiar with these increments to follow along with the sale live or when leaving an absentee bid, so as not to leave an off-increment bid. Toomey & Co. Auctioneers’ Bid Increments may be found in our Terms & Conditions of Sale.


A BIDDER is the individual, entity, or representative seeking to purchase property at an auction. The bidder may be attending in-house in the audience, bidding via an absentee or telephone bid, or bidding live online.

Bidder Number (or Paddle Number)

A BIDDER NUMBER is an assigned number each bidder receives when registering for an auction. Floor bidder’s numbers are displayed either on a bid card or paddle. Bidders raise their card/paddle to attract the auctioneer’s attention and demonstrate their intent to bid at a desired bid increment. The auctioneer will award the item to the highest bidder at the close of the lot, at which time the auctioneer will indicate the lot is sold by announcing the hammer price and the bidder number.


The BUYER is the highest bidder acknowledged by the auctioneer at the close of each lot.

Buyer’s Premium

The BUYER’S PREMIUM is a percentage the auction house retains from the buyer, which is added to the hammer price of each sold lot. The Buyer’s Premium schedule may be found in the Terms & Conditions.

Catalog Note

A CATALOG NOTE is included in the description of a lot when there is additional information about the lot that prospective buyers may find interesting and/or may affect their bidding.

Catalog (Printed and/or Online)

A CATALOG is a printed or online listing of all lots offered in a particular auction. Toomey & Co. Auctioneers produces full-color printed catalogs for specialized and single-owner auctions; every lot will be pictured and contain a full description with a pre-sale estimate. Online catalogs are also available for all of our auctions, which is where our most current condition reports are can be found. Click here to see past catalogues.


A CLERK records the winning hammer price and bidder number announced by the auctioneer for each lot in an auction.


A COMMISSION is a confidential percentage fee charged to the seller by the auction house for the services provided in selling their property. This Commission is established by the consignment agreement prior to the auction.

Competing Bid

The auctioneer will accept COMPETING BIDS from various sources during an auction, including: in-house audience bidder(s), absentee bids, telephone bids, live online bidding platforms, or book bids.

Condition Report

A CONDITION REPORT is a written or oral description of the physical condition of the item(s) in a lot.  Toomey & Co. Auctioneers’ department Specialists prepare and update condition reports prior to each auction or upon request by prospective bidders. The most current Condition Reports are displayed in an auction’s online catalog.


The CONSIGNEE is the auctioneer or auction house that the consignor entrusts to sell property at auction.

Consignment Agreement

A CONSIGNMENT AGREEMENT is the binding contract between a consignor and Toomey & Co. Auctioneers relating to the property consigned for sale, either through auction or a private treaty. The Consignment Agreement includes Toomey & Co. Auctioneers’ terms and commissions for consignment related services.

Consignor (also known as Seller or Vendor)

The CONSIGNOR is the individual, entity, or representative on whose behalf Toomey & Co. Auctioneers is selling property.

Estimate (or Pre-Sale Estimate)

An ESTIMATE is the monetary range assigned to each lot; this appears at the end of each lot description in the cataloging. Estimates are approximations, reflecting the range in which the price may fall. Estimates are based on the property’s condition, rarity, quality, provenance, and also recent auction estimates and/or prices realized of comparable property. Estimates are prepared in advance of an auction and are subject to change.


EXHIBITION is any information about a lot’s known current and/or prior exhibition history.

Hammer Price

The final winning bid is called the HAMMER PRICE. This price does not include the Buyer’s Premium (see above), or any applicable sales tax or shipping costs. The Hammer Price is announced by the auctioneer at the close of each lot, whether property is sold or passed.


LITERATURE  is any information about a lot’s known current and/or prior published history.


A LOT is an object or group of objects offered for sale as one unit. Lots are numbered and sold in consecutive order.

Online Only Auction

ONLINE ONLY AUCTIONS are auctions that are offered exclusively through live online bidding platforms and are not conducted in front of a live audience. Prospective clients may still view the lots in person either during regular auction preview hours or by appointment. As a courtesy, Toomey & Co. Auctioneers offers clients the ability to leave absentee bids (but not telephone bidding) for Online Only Auctions.

Opening Bid (or Starting Price)

The OPENING BID is the amount the auctioneer will start a given lot.

Private Sale

A PRIVATE SALE is an agreement between the auction house and the consignor to sell an item privately to a prospective buyer. Toomey & Co. Auctioneers offers Toomey+, a convenient online marketplace to purchase works privately outside of the auction environment. Please note all items scheduled to sell at auction will be offered at auction, unless otherwise withdrawn by the consignor. Auction lots are not available for Private Sale prior to the auction.

Price Realized

The PRICE REALIZED is the final purchase price of a lot, which includes the hammer price with the buyer’s premium.


PROVENANCE is any information about a lot’s known current and/or prior ownership history.


When you REGISTER with Toomey & Co. Auctioneers, you provide us with information that includes your identification, name, billing address, and credit reference in order to bid. Only registered bidders are allowed to participate in any given auction and must register separately for each individual sale.


A RESERVE is a confidential minimum price, below which an item cannot be sold. A consignor is able to arrange a reserve with the auction house prior to the auction. In most instances, if a reserve is set, the reserve is less than the low estimate.

Sales Tax

All purchases are subject to a Combined Illinois State SALES TAX for Oak Park, Illinois if you are an Illinois Resident and/or you are picking up any item(s) in person. Buyers are exempt from Sales Tax if purchases are shipped out of state by a licensed shipping agent or have a valid resale license on file with Toomey & Co. Auctioneers. Some auction items may be exempt from Sales Tax and will be notated as such in the catalog.

Terms and Conditions of Sale

TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF SALE is the terminology used to dictate the buying and selling of property. By placing a bid, clients are agreeing to Toomey & Co. Auctioneers Terms and Conditions of Sale. Click here to see Toomey & Co. Auctioneers’ Terms and Conditions of Sale.

Telephone Bid (or Phone Bid)

If a client is unable or unwilling to attend a live auction, a Toomey & Co. Auctioneers’ staff member can assist them by placing a bid for that client via telephone. The Toomey & Co. staff member will relay the TELEPHONE BID to the auctioneer during bidding on a the client’s specified lot.


A VIEWING is a preview of the property held in advance of an auction. You can schedule a private viewing at Toomey & Co. Auctioneers or attend one of our public viewings in advance of an auction. Viewings are open to the public at no charge.