Absentee Bid

A method of bidding when you are not physically present at the auction. A member of the A&O staff will place your bids as a proxy bidder. Absentee bids can be registered by filling out the Absentee/Phone Bid form and submitting to

As Is

Ahlers & Ogletree offers all property for sale at auction “as is,” meaning that the property is sold with all imperfections. We encourage potential buyers to inspect each item and request condition reports before bidding.

Auction Estimate

Each lot is assigned an auction estimate range representing the opinion of Ahlers & Ogletree of what value the lot should sell for at auction. Estimates are based on the professional examination of the item by our team of specialists, research of comparable pieces recently sold at auction, and breadth of knowledge of the current auction climate.  An estimate provides prospective buyers with an important preliminary guide to value upon which they can base their decision to auction an item at any given time.


A trained professional who presides over the auction, initiates the sale of a lot by describing the item and starting the bidding, accepts bids from members of the audience and proxy bidders, and sells items by verbally identifying hammer price and bid card number.


The dollar amount a potential buyer acknowledges to auctioneer that he/she would pay to buy the lot currently on the auction block. The potential buyer presents a bid by raising his/her numbered auction paddle. Bids must follow the Ahlers & Ogletree increment structure in order to be acknowledged by the auctioneer.

Bid Increment

The amount by which the auctioneer increases the bidding. Ahlers & Ogletree publishes bid increments at the front of each print catalog as well as on each bidding platform. Bidding platforms request bids based on this pre-determined increment structure.

Buyer’s Premium

The amount above the hammer price that is paid as part of the total purchase price.  Ahlers & Ogletree assesses a 21% buyer’s premium on all in-house, absentee, and phone bids paid with cash, check, or wire transfer; a 24% buyer’s premium on all in-house, absentee, and phone bids paid with a credit card; and a 25% buyer’s premium on all lots won through LiveAuctioneers, Invaluable, or Bidsquare regardless of payment method.


Information about a lot offered for sale, such as the name of the artist or maker, a detailed description of the object including years/location of creation and dimensions, and its provenance.

Condition Report

A written description of the condition of a work, prepared prior to an auction by request.


The owner who is transferring property to Ahlers & Ogletree to act as agent on his or her behalf for sale.

Exhibition History

A listing of museum or gallery exhibitions in which a given lot has appeared. Inclusion in important exhibitions may impact the value of the object.

Fair Market Value

A term frequently used by appraisers referring to their judgment and opinion about an object’s likely sale price if offered by a willing seller to a willing buyer. Since the auction process is open to all bidders, a sale at auction is considered to be a measure of Fair Market Value.

Fair Warning

A warning given by the auctioneer to signify that bidding on a lot is about to close. The auctioneer will often make a Last Call after Fair warning, and if no further bids are place the auctioneer will close bidding on that lot.

Gavel or Hammer

A name for the tool used by the auctioneer hammer used to close the bidding. Also used as a verb to identify the price a lot sold for before buyer’s premium i.e. “Lot 471 hammered for $500”.

Hammer Price

The winning bid amount as dictated by the auctioneer. Buyer’s premium is assessed on this value.


An individual object or group of objects offered for sale at auction as a single unit.


A paddle given to you upon your registration for any given auction. A bidder will raise this paddle to acknowledge to the auctioneer his/her desire to bid the called for dollar amount on any given lot. When a lot is won, the bidder’s paddle number is recorded and used for invoicing purposes. Paddles must be returned at registration upon conclusion of the auction.


Term used by the auctioneer when an item fails to sell at auction.

Phone Bid

A method of bidding when you are not physically present at the auction. A member of the A&O staff will call before a specific lot comes to the auction block and work with you in real-time to place your bids as a proxy bidder. Phone bids can be registered by filling out the Absentee/Phone Bid form and submitting to


The time at which all auction lots are staged at the Ahlers & Ogletree showroom with attached tags identifying auction lot and estimate. Ahlers & Ogletree typically stages preview for the entire week preceding each auction.


Provenance establishes the chain of known ownership as far into the object’s past as possible.


The reserve is the confidential minimum price agreed upon between the consignor and Ahlers & Ogletree. If there is a reserve, it must be set at or below the low estimate, and if bidding ends before the reserve is reached, the property will not be sold. Reserve amounts are never disclosed to potential buyers or the public.

Seller’s Commission

A commission paid by the consignor to Ahlers & Ogletree which is deducted from the hammer price.


A member of the Ahlers & Ogletree staff with expertise in a given field. Specialists and cataloguers are in charge of researching, writing the descriptions and assigning auction estimates for each lot in any given auction.

Starting Bid

Given the nature of online auctions, bidding on an item must be initiated at a standard percentage. Ahlers & Ogletree structures each start bid as 50% of the low auction estimate of an item (i.e. if an item is estimated $1,000-$2,000, the bidding will begin at $500).

Terms & Conditions of Business

A legal contract under which Ahlers & Ogletree and the bidder agree to do business. The Ahlers & Ogletree Terms & Conditions can be found at the back of each print catalog, in the overview of each auction published online, and by request. These Terms & Conditions are also printed on the form which bidders sign in order to register for bidding at an auction.

Glossary of Common
Cataloguing Terms

“Salvador Dalí”

In our professional qualified opinion, we believe this work is by the artist named.

“School of “Follower of Salvador Dalí”

In our professional qualified opinion, this work is from the period of the artist named, likely by a student, studio assistant, or follower of the artist, but not by the artist named.

“After Salvador Dalí”

In our professional qualified opinion, this work is a copy of a known work by the artist named.

“In the Manner of” or “In the Style of Salvador Dalí”

In our professional qualified opinion, the work is in the artistic style of the artist named, however it is from a later period.