How to Bid in an Online Auction

How to Bid in an Online Auction

To browse the 2022 Sketch for Survival auction please click here>>>

Our annual auction is here again! All the proceeds from our auction help to support on-the-ground conservation around the world. Not only are you supporting important conservation work but if you win your lot, you’ll also have something lovely on the wall to enjoy for years to come. 

Wondering how an online auction works? Well, it’s a lot like a real auction room and the following guide may help you.


Registration is quick and easy. You don’t need to enter any payment details online. You can register here where it says ‘Auction Sign -Ups’.

Simply complete your contact details so we can contact you with an invoice if your bids are successful. You’ll be sent an automatic verification email to confirm your email address – please look out for it and follow the instructions.

If you have registered before, please just log-in, review your contact details and update anything that may have changed.

We use the address and telephone number you provide for delivery of lots so it is very important that the details are correct. Your details remain confidential at all times.  When you bid, or place a ‘watch’ on a favourite lot,  you are only identifiable online by a number and not your name.


If you are familiar with eBay then you will find this platform very similar.

To place a bid you need to be signed in. Enter your bid (please check the amount you have entered as we cannot change this once it has been placed).

Bidding is in Pounds Sterling – you do not need a £ sign – just enter the number. For example if I want to place a bid of £120 I would enter 120, check the number is correct (not 1200, or 12000 or 120000) and then press CONFIRM.

You can enter a maximum amount you are willing to pay for the lot – other people cannot see this – should someone else start bidding on the lot against you, bidding will increase by set increments up to your maximum limit. If you bid the same amount as someone else the system will advise you that you need to increase your bid to win the lot. Do not assume you have won the lot just because you have increased your max bid – someone else may have bid ahead of you and have a higher maximum threshhold already logged on the system.

Bidding for each lot will close from the scheduled time on Sunday 20th November.

Please note: if someone is bidding against you, the time the lot closes automatically extends by several minutes for each and every additional bid received. This is to enable all bidders the chance to review their last bid, and to bid again if they wish  – just like it works in a live auction room.

There is no merit in placing your reply bid in the last 15 seconds  –  people in the past have missed out because they have left it too late to enter their reply bid and the lot has closed.  We cannnot do anything about this. Our only advice is to get your bid in with plenty of time to spare just in case someone else has already matched the bid you are about to place.

The participant with the highest logged bid at the close of the lot is obligated to buy the item. They will be invoiced within 3 days and have until the end of the month to settle the invoice.

If no one bids at or above the reserve price, the lot will close without a buyer.

There is no buyer’s premium and no hammer fee – what you pay is what you bid, plus the shipping cost.


If your bid is successful, you will receive an automatic confirmation email on the day.

We will then contact you separately by email (using the information you provided when you registered) with an invoice and details of delivery options.  These are sent out Tuesday 22 November – Wedneday 23 November . Sometimes these emails get caught up in Spam filters so please check, or get in touch with us directly if you have not heard anything within 4 working days of the auction closing.

Delivery options depend on where you live, and the lot(s) purchased (size, weight & value, and whether or not it is framed/canvas etc). We work with Royal Mail, courier services as well as offering pick up at Explorer HQ in Norfolk (by appointment).

The minimum charge for packing and shipping an unframed artwork is £20. This is based on small parcel delivery within the UK using Royal Mail secure/tracked post.  The minimum charge to send the same small parcel to Europe would be £28 and to the USA £35.

Courier charges for larger framed artworks are quoted individually. You also have the option to arrange your own courier pick-up, if that is preferable.

We can combine shipping where possible (for example if you purchase several lots).

Payment should be made promptly please by direct transfer to the Real World Conservation Trust. International buyers have the option to pay by card via PayPal. All details will be provided on the invoice.

We aim to process all payments in November and despatch all lots in the first week of December enabling us to transfer funds to our nominated projects before Christmas.

Please bid generously – all the artwork and photography in this auction has been generously donated by artists and photographers in support of on-the-ground-conservation. Many hours have been invested in this collection by both them and us! Thank you!

Image: gallery@oxo Sketch for Survival November 2021