Auction rules – meetings


A 1.1    The Society aims to conduct fair and efficient Auctions whilst giving all members an equal opportunity to buy or sell items as well as helping to indicate values of items in their collections.

Application and Amendment of Rules

A 2.1    These Rules shall apply to Auctions held at meetings organised by the Society.

A 2.2    Any Seller, Buyer or Committee appointee participating in an Auction shall be deemed to have read, understood and agreed to be bound by these Rules.

A 2.3    These Rules may be amended by a majority decision of the Committee and such amendment shall be effective on notification to participants.


A 3.1    The Committee shall appoint an Auction Organiser, as well as auctioneers, clerks, porters and others as honorary officers to try to ensure the fair, efficient and economic conduct of the Auctions.

A 3.2    The Auction Organiser and Treasurer shall retain all records and accounts of each Auction at a meeting organised by the Society for inspection by the Committee.


A 4.1    Only Subscribing Members and Temporary Members of the Society may sell or buy Lots through an Auction. A visitor to the meeting who is not a Subscribing Member shall be considered a Temporary Member for that day on payment of the entrance fee to the meeting. A Seller entering a Lot in an Auction who is not a Subscribing Member shall be considered a Temporary Member for that Auction. Note: The Society avoids any taxation of revenue derived from auction commissions and other trading as long as buying and selling is solely between members.

A 4.2    All transactions, including all bids and payments, shall be in British pounds (GBP).

Role of Society

A 5.1    The Society auctions each Lot on behalf of the Seller as agent only and cannot accept any responsibility for the disputes that may arise between a Buyer and a Seller.  However, the Committee will attempt to assist in resolving any dispute as far as is reasonably practical.

Lot entry

A 6.1    A Seller may request a maximum of five Lots to be entered in an Auction by first providing a suitable, written, brief description of each Lot to the Auction Organiser within the dates set out in the Auction Timetable. The Auction Organiser shall confirm to the Seller, in writing, whether or not each Lot can be accommodated.

A 6.2    The Auction Organiser shall not accept more than 100 lot entries to any one Auction and Lot entries will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

A 6.3    If entry of a Lot is refused because that auction is full then the Seller is required to apply again to enter a later auction within the dates set out in the Auction Timetable.

A 6.4    If entry of a Lot is accepted then the Auction Organiser will supply a label indicating the Lot number for the Seller to affix to that Lot in a prominent position.  Lots may only be handed over to the Auction Organiser after their entry has been accepted.

A 6.5    The Seller has the duty to ensure that each Lot is handed over to the Auction Organiser preferably before the day of the Auction or otherwise between 11 a.m. and 12 noon on the day of the Auction.

A 6.6    Any Lot that has been entered and accepted by the Auction Organiser either before, or on, the day of the Auction cannot be withdrawn, except that the Auction Organiser shall require any Lot not matching the Seller’s original description or lot number to be withdrawn by the Seller.

A 6.7    Receipts for Lots handed over to the Auction Organiser will only be issued at the request and expense of the Seller.

Lot Content and Presentation

A 7.1    Only phillumenic items may be included in Lots such as: matchboxes; matchbox labels; bookmatches; match packaging; match advertising; associated publications; and any other material related to the collecting, use or manufacture of match related items.

A 7.2    The Seller must package a Lot in such a manner to allow its safe handling and examination by potential Bidders.  Small items shall be presented in a package not less than 20 cm x 20cm.  Lots must be of a reasonable size, weight and portability to enable easy handling for examination by Bidders and for subsequent carrying away by Buyers.  The Packaging of a Lot shall be the responsibility of the Seller and therefore damage to, or loss from, the Lot during handling shall be at the risk of the Seller.

Preparation and Publication of Auction Catalogue

A 8.1    The Auction Organiser shall arrange the preparation of an Auction Catalogue to be published prior to the auction.  The description published for each Lot shall be based on that supplied by the Seller.

Lot Inspection and Bidding

A 9.1    Bidders are advised to satisfy themselves of the content of a Lot and be prepared to buy caveat emptor (= “buyer beware”)

A 9.2    Any remarks the Auctioneer may make concerning a Lot shall be considered advisory only and not binding in any way.

A 9.3    Only Subscribing Members may make Postal Bids. Postal bids shall be made in writing or e-mail and received by the Auction Organiser before the published closing date.  Postal Bidders must clearly state: their full name; their full postal address; their membership number; their email address; their telephone number; their postage preference; and their maximum bid against each Lot number.  The Auction Organiser shall mark each postal bid with the time and date it was opened.  Postal bids that cannot be clearly and unambiguously understood or do not conform to these Rules will be rejected.  Where two postal bids of the same amount have been received for the same Lot then the bid opened first by the Auction Organiser shall be the bid accepted.

A 9.4    A Seller may set a Reserve Price on a Lot by informing the Auction Organiser in writing.  A Reserve Price shall be treated as a fixed bid by the Seller to buy at that price. Lots that are unsold because of not reaching the Reserve will be liable to a commission charge of 15% of the requested Reserve up to a maximum of £10. The Seller will also be responsible for any costs incurred by the Society to return the unsold lot.

A 9.5    The Auctioneer may start the bidding at any value.  Bidding stages shall be at the Auctioneer’s discretion but shall generally be in 50p steps up to £10; £1 steps up to £25; £5 steps up to £100; £10 steps up to £250; £25 steps up to £500; and £50 steps thereafter.

A 9.6    It is the responsibility of the Bidder to attract the attention of the Auctioneer and to make their bids clear.

A 9.7    The buyer of a Lot shall be the one making the highest bid knocked down by the Auctioneer.  It is the responsibility of a Buyer to ensure that their name is given accurately to the clerks.

A 9.8    A Lot that attracts no bids or a Lot that is withdrawn shall be deemed to have been knocked down to the Seller for £1.

Buyer’s Settlement and Collection of Lots

A 10.1  Buyers present at the Auction must settle their account in full at the end of each Auction.  Accounts may be settled by cash or by cheque made payable to BML&BS or by electronic funds transfer to the Society.  Buyers present at the Auction are responsible for the collection of any Lot purchased. Buyers who are not present at the Auction will be invoiced by email or letter and shall settle their invoice in full before any Lots can be despatched to them. All payments shall be made in GBP (GB Pounds). 

A 10.2  The Society will take no responsibility for items lost or damaged in the post. All auction items are sent by second class mail and a certificate of posting obtained. Buyers can request UK signed for or Special Delivery postage at their own expense by notifying the Auction Organiser.

Payout and Commission

A 11.1  Whether a Lot is sold, unsold, or withdrawn, a commission of the greater of £1 or 15% of the sum realised shall be deducted by the Society from any monies due to the Seller after payment has been received from the Buyer.  If the Seller has placed a Reserve Price on any Lot and the Lot is unsold because of not reaching the Reserve, the commission payable will be 15% of the Reserve Price up to a maximum of £10. The Seller will also be responsible for any costs incurred by the Society to return the unsold lot. Payment shall be made in GBP (GB Pounds).  Monies not collected before the end of the meeting shall be forwarded at the convenience of the Society and at the expense of the Seller.

A 11.2  Any Lot that remains uncollected at the end of the event shall be dealt with at the expense of the Buyer.

Auction Timetable

A 12.1  The following table shows the principal dates for each Auction:

Period for Lot entry Catalogue published Auction date Results published
1 September – 31 October December February April
1 November – 31 December February April June
1 January – 30 June August October December
1 July – 31 August October Nov/Dec February

A 12.2  The Auction Organiser may revise the Auction Timetable at any time as circumstances may require.

Date : October 2023

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