The term "sold" marks the end of the bidding and the transfer of ownership of the object to the final bidder.


The invoice is issued by the auction house and given to the buyer. The invoice indicates the lot’s characteristics (description, period, condition), its catalogue references, the hammer price and the total buyer's premium. It constitutes a proof of purchase and acts as a certificate of ownership, which can be used for a future transaction or for insurance purposes.


Printed publication that lists the lots offered at auction, in the order of the sale. The lots are described, estimated and some are illustrated. Digital catalogues are also available on


A colleague of the voluntary or judicial auctioneer. They prepare the sale, provide information and take absentee bids during the exhibition; they sometimes present the lots during the auction.

Digital clerk

The digital clerk is physically present in a saleroom. He transmits the bids from online bidders to the auctioneer.

Crieur (shouter)

The crieur assists auctioneers during sales. They circulate among the audience and "shout out" the bids to the auctioneer. They collect the buyer’s identification and payment instructions, in exchange for the lot or the ticket allowing to later collect the lot.

Right of preemption

Right granted to the French State, stipulated by the law of 21 December 1921, to acquire, through the intermediary of its national Museums, an object from a public auction, by replacing the last bidder. Once the lot is knocked down, the right of preemption can be exercised by the Ministry of Culture, if it deems it useful to preserve the work of art as part of France's national heritage.


Offer of an amount higher than the opening bid or previous offers during an auction. The successful bidder is the one who bids the highest.
If the auctioneer notices tie bids when the hammer goes down, he is authorised to reopen the bidding.


The estimate sets the value of an object in the form of a price range, after an expert assessment. It corresponds to the price that the lot should reach at public auction, according to the auctioneer.


Handed out by the crieur during an auction, allowing the buyer to collect their purchase when paid.

Auctioneer's office

The office of a judicial auctioneer, the only party authorised to conduct judicial sales, i.e. those prescribed by law or by the decision of a judge.


They appraise items. Expertise includes identifying property to estimate their value. Experts assist auction houses for lots that require specific knowledge or when they are specialised in the work of a particular artist. Experts are personally responsible for guaranteeing their expertise for five years.

Folle enchère

This is the case when a buyer is awarded a lot that, afterall, they cannot pay. The lot is put back at auction and the defaulting bidder will have to pay any difference between the initial price and the new hammer price, if the latter is lower.


Buyers have a legal guarantee of five years as to the authenticity of the purchased lot, as described in the catalogue, in the auctioneer’s result report and on the invoice.

Private sale

The law allows auction houses to sell goods outside the context of a public auction.


List of lots most often with their estimates. It can be carried out during the preparation of an insurance policy, a marriage, an apportionment, an inheritance, etc.


Live auctions are live streams of physical auctions. With this live stream, bidders can watch a sale and bid live, as if they were physically attending the auction.

Opening bid

The opening bid begins the auction and is usually below the low estimate.


Online auctions are exclusively digital sales. There is no physical public exhibition nor auction. Works of art are offered during a fixed period (often one or two weeks) and users can bid until the end of the auction.

Absentee bid

Authorisation from a client to the auction house to bid on their behalf under the best conditions, if they cannot physically attend the sale. A form must be completed for this purpose.

Reserve price

This confidential amount is set between the consignor and the auctioneer. The item cannot be sold below this price. It cannot be higher than the low estimate. During the sale, the opening bid may be lower than the reserve price; in this case, the auctioneer is allowed to bid on behalf of the consignor up to the reserve price.

Result report

Confidential list of sold lots, in the order of the auction, their basic description and price, along with the names and addresses of the consignors and buyers. It also lists the information given before or during the sale, including any edits to the catalogue.
The result report therefore states the transfer of ownership of each lot and is the most important reference in case of any claim or dispute.

Condition report

Any interested bidder can ask the auction house for a condition report on one or several works of art. The condition report will describe exactly the state in which a lot

Judicial auction

Judicial auctions are prescribed by the law. They follow a judicial decision and can only be held by a judicial auctioneer or a public officer.

Voluntary auction

Voluntary auctions are the result of a vendor choosing to sell some property at auction. The property will be submitted to bids, and the price will be set at the higher offer. The higher bidder is then the new owner of the property.