+44 (0) 1332 250 970




gavelThe initial assessment of whether your item(s) or Collection are suitable for auction, and a rough idea of their likely value, can be provided quickly and (usually) free of charge by telephone or email: please contact Bob Unwin in our Derby office 01332 250970(email-bob@cavendish-auctions.com). Home visits can also be arranged if necessary; please contact us to arrange these.

Overseas vendors; please contact Anna Spring (phone +44 1332 250970 or email anna@cavendish-auctions.com) for advice about customs/insurance requirements before despatching material.


Please beware of so-called auctioneers that recommend you to sell privately to their 'active buyers'; they may themselves be buying the stamps or postal history from you at a less than generous price, simply in order to sell them later in their own auctions for a large profit! Selling collections 'as a whole' may also have adverse taxation implications. Cavendish is a consignment-only Auction House, where there is no conflict of interest due to an auctioneer selling his own stock.


Competitive commission rates, based on a percentage of the hammer-prices of sold lots, are charged to all Cavendish's vendors. Special terms can be negotiated for larger Collections and 'named' sales, and for significant single items. Our rates reflect the expertise and experience required to lot and describe collections properly, which normally results in a higher net return to vendors as compared to results achieved when collections are offered in large lots and not expertly described. A small additional charge is usually made to cover the costs of insurance. Cavendish occasionally conducts Charity Auctions (and includes lots offered on behalf of Charities in their regular auctions), and vendor's commission is usually reduced for such lots.


Once the decision to sell the stamps or postal history has been taken, you can relax while Cavendish's team starts their work on your behalf in earnest. Their sole aim is to achieve the maximum possible return for you. The stamps or postal history are insured on your behalf from the moment you:- (a) post them to us (by a fully receipted postal/courier service), (b) hand them to our representative (be sure to check identification), or (c) bring them with you into our office. You then receive a signed receipt for them by return or in person, signed by a member of Cavendish's staff, two carbon copies of which remain in Cavendish's hands (one together with your material until it has been lotted and described). Meanwhile your stamps or postal history are placed in secure, atmospherically controlled, fire-protected, fully insured storage in our safes and vault. Please note that Cavendish will not be responsible for the loss or damage to stamps or postal history which have been received inadequately mounted or arranged. Each lot is received for sale subject to the "Philatelic Auctioneers' standard terms and conditions of sale" and the Terms and Conditions of sale of Cavendish Philatelic Auctions Ltd. as published in the catalogues and on this site.


Pre-sale Marketing commences at once (worldwide when warranted), with the 1000's of collectors on Cavendish's International mailing-list being the first to know, and access being available to Cavendish's regular Worldwide network of advertisements in general/specialised/prestige Philatelic Magazines in many countries, and full exposure on the internet via Cavendish's website and electronic marketing. Likewise most of the leading specialist collectors around the world are known personally to members of the team who will advise them of material being offered in forthcoming auctions. Major collections are usually sold in 'named' catalogues or sections, with the collector's own name most often being used, but with noms-de-plume being agreed for those who prefer anonymity.


The material is assigned to the Cavendish expert-describer(s) with the greatest relevant knowledge, and the describing process begins. They research provenances, contents where relevant, recent auction realisations, the published works on the subject, and Cavendish's own extensive records of extant material (much of which is held in their extensive specialised philatelic library). Precision and accuracy are the watchwords of Cavendish's describers. Each lot will be sold subject to the standard Cavendish reserve minimum of 66% of printed estimate, unless the contrary is expressed in writing by the vendor; such instructions must reach us at least 7 days before the date of sale. All reserves should be in sterling (gross). When requested, the vendor can be kept in touch with developments, and they may be asked to add information or advice on lotting and/or describing. Specialist consultants with exceptional in-depth knowledge of unusual areas are sometimes also called upon to assist with verification/describing. Pre-publication computer proofs can be provided for the vendor of large and valuable collections, where time permits. Biographies and photographs of the collector are usually included in important 'named' catalogues, or for specialised sections of note.


Once a sale has been completely described and checked, lot numbers are allocated and the catalogue is produced with many pages of illustrated items, a full cross-reference index and specialist headings for ease of reference. The full catalogue is then instantly available on Cavendish's website. Important collections are given separate catalogues, and a number of such Cavendish catalogues are now reference works in their own right, serving as permanent records of the collections and their compilers. Vendors receive complimentary copies with a printed list of their lot numbers four weeks prior to the auction.


Viewing requests, photocopy/scan requests and bids rapidly start to arrive at Cavendish House by post, fax, phone and e-mail. All lots are available for viewing at Cavendish House in Derby (small lots by appointment at The Cavendish Gallery in London) prior to the auction day itself. Lots may also be available for viewing at stamp fairs in London and regionally. Security is of paramount importance at all these venues, and Cavendish's comprehensive insurance also covers all these events.


Vendors are most welcome to attend our auctions, which are generally held at Cavendish House in Derby. Normally over 100 bidders will attend the auction, with other hopeful purchasers being represented by auction agents, or 'live' phone-bidding during the sale. Additionally, Cavendish generally receives thousands of bids by phone/email/fax. Results are posted on the website following the auction.


Upon request, a printed list of your lot numbers, with the prices that they achieved, will be sent to you following the auction. The final cheque for your net sale proceeds will normally be sent to you five weeks after the sale, together with a detailed list of your lots, their hammer prices, and your commission charges. This period after the sale is needed to enable Cavendish to despatch the lots to their buyers (all over Britain and around the world), to process the many payments that result, to ensure that no errors have been made, and to allow for any post-sale expert opinions that may be sought. Please phone Sam Sheppard at Cavendish House 01332 250970 or Email: sam@cavendish-auctions.com with any queries regarding vendor accounts.


It is Cavendish's aim to ensure that their vendors enjoy seeing their stamps or postal history and related items sold professionally and successfully, while at the same time receiving an accurate (and often illustrated) printed record of their Collections and individual treasures. Whether they sell a few items regularly, or a lifetime's Collection in one auction, Cavendish's vendors continue to recommend the Derby specialists to all who will listen. The success of any auction business is based on trust; Cavendish's team understands that vendors and buyers alike must both have trust in all their technical and administrative staff. The staff therefore aim to be approachable and friendly at all times, so that you too will enjoy working with them to sell your stamps or postal history. Please see Terms and Conditions for further information.