How to sell your valuable antiques at auction

Auction ground floor with antiques in display cases and paintings at Bishop & Miller, Suffolk

Bishop & Miller offer free valuations on site or at your home, free of charge and with no obligation to sell. - Credit: Bishop & Miller

Parting with antiques can be difficult, but when the time is right to sell, understanding the auction consignment process is vital to getting the best price. 

We spoke to Oliver Miller, managing director of Bishop & Miller Auctioneers, who explains everything you need to know about selling your items at auction, to make the process simple and enjoyable.  

Q: What is auction consignment and how can I do it? 

Three antique watches in boxes at Bishop & Miller, Stowmarket

The consignment process is a simple one, whether you're selling one item or several. - Credit: Bishop & Miller

A: Consignment is the process in which a client registers their items with an auctioneer and puts them up for sale. Consignment at Bishop & Miller is very simple, you don’t even need an appointment to take the first step. You can turn up to one of our walk-in valuation days or book a valuation, free of charge at your home. There is no pressure at all to commit once you have received an estimated price.  

One of the major benefits of consignment is that it's incredibly streamlined for the client. We take care of the transport of items, setting up the auction and issuing lot numbers and settlements. All that is required of the seller is the signing of the initial paperwork. Clients are of course welcome to attend and follow the auction, whether in person or online. 

Q: Does consignment favour a specific kind of seller or item? 

A: The great thing about consigning your antiques to an auction house is that it ticks all the boxes for everyone. Whether you have 20 items that you need valued and collected, or a single piece of jewellery, all of our clients stand to benefit from putting their trust in us.  

For clients that have numerous antiques they wish to consign we offer a collection service and, if necessary, we can set up a personal content sale. This effectively functions as their own private auction and is ideal for individuals who have a remarkable number of items. 

The service we provide is hugely flexible to accommodate the needs of every client and the items they are selling.  

Antique diamond ring on display at Bishop & Miller, Stowmarket

Bishop & Miller have numerous departments specialising in various types of antiques such as ceramics and jewellery. - Credit: Bishop & Miller

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Q: Does the consignment process differ for each type of auction? 

A: At Bishop & Miller, the only difference to each consignment is how long it takes to sell a specific antique or set of items. We have several departments catering to various types of antique property, from paintings to ceramics, and some types sell much quicker than others.  

Our objective is to get the best deal possible for all of our clients. As a result, we usually organise specialist auctions as opposed to more general ones. As we cater to a worldwide market and some items are shipped abroad, it can sometimes take a little while to complete each step of the process. Our sellers can rest easy knowing that their property has been securely logged onto our system and is safely stored until the date of their auction. 

Two antique coins on display at Bishop & Miller, Sussex

For small items and larger ones, Bishop & Miller provide a collection service and a free valuation with no obligation to sell. - Credit: Bishop & Miller

Q: Is consignment as easy for buyers as it is for sellers? 

A: Both buyers and sellers enjoy our system of consigning antiques, largely due to its simplicity and effectiveness. Every client has a unique lot number and buyers receive their own paddle number at auction. We take the utmost care and dedication at every stage of the consignment, ensuring the correct items are sold to the right person, helping to put your mind at ease and fetch the best price for your valuables.  

For more information on how to consign your items to an auctioneer, visit or call 01449 673088.