FSA – Online Auctions Glossary

Have you ever considered buying spirits on Fine Spirits Auction or selling the spirits you won’t have time to drink? We’re here to tell you everything you need to know about the world of auctions so that it no longer holds any secrets for you. This article will familiarise you with how our auctions actually work in addition to providing you with valuable tips and tricks!


Let’s start with a quick reminder of how an auction works before introducing you to our glossary.


  1. SEND US THE LIST OF YOUR SPIRITS: Simply fill out this form or send us a comprehensive list of your spirits alongside photos by email to [email protected]. You will receive your estimate within 48 to 72 hours.
  2. TRANSPORT, EXPERTISE AND STORAGE OF YOUR SPIRITS: Our team of experts will ensure that your spirits are collected, packaged and transported in the best possible conditions to our warehouses, where you can also drop off your bottles directly. Each bottle is then thoroughly appraised (label, level, stopper…).
  3. PUTTING YOUR SPIRITS UP FOR AUCTION: Each auction runs for roughly two weeks and takes place online on auction under the scrutiny of close to 600,000 potential buyers from around the world.
  4. AUCTION OUTCOME AND SETTLEMENT: You will be notified of the outcome of the bidding session of your spirits within 24 hours of the end of the sale. Your payment will be issued 35 days after the end of the sale by cheque or bank transfer.


Fine Spirits Auction Online Glossary


Alert: If you’re looking for a very specific spirit or if you are unfortunately outbid, you can ‘Create an alert’ to be informed as soon as it’s back at auction on our website. To manage your alerts, use the ‘Notifications – To watch’ functionality available on your account.


Special catalogue: When a seller/consignor has an outstanding cellar to auction on Fine Spirits Auction (volume and value), we can offer a comprehensive special catalogue in a sale. This ensures greater visibility during the sale.


Closing: This is the end time for bids to be placed on a specific lot. Each lot displays a very precise time stamp, labelled as follows: ’5 days, 4 hours left. March 22, 2023 – 4:30 p.m. Paris.’


Private collection: When a seller/consignor has an outstanding cellar to auction on Fine Spirits Auction (volume and value), we can offer to set up a private collection sale for them. Their collection gains further visibility because all the marketing efforts are focused on a single vendor, who often presents a collectable cellar with an element of consistency.


Licensed auctioneer:
Fine Spirits Auction relies on the guarantees provided by the auctioneers – International Wine Auction, operator of registered auction sales and subsidiary of iDealwine – licensed public servants responsible for the smooth running and regularity of sales. You are definitely in safe hands!


Commission/fees: Fees are added to the auction price of a bid, just as they are in physical sales. On the bidder’s side, the commission is 19% including VAT (16% excluding VAT), the amount is directly calculated on the bid (x€, commission included). On the seller’s side, the commission is 15%, including VAT (12.5% excluding VAT).


FSA auction price estimate: As you can imagine, from our experience in selling the greatest spirits on Fine Spirits Auction, we have pretty accurate figures on the actual prices of these bottles on the auction market. The auction price estimate is based on these results. It is calculated on the basis of the hammer price, in addition to the buyer’s fee charged at the time of the sale.


Maximum bid: As you know, the successful bidder is the highest bidder at the time of the auction closing. To increase your chances of securing the spirit you are interested in, and to avoid the risk of going over your budget, you can set a maximum bid on your account. This maximum bid price, which is not visible to other bidders, will only be reached if other bidders overtake your bid. Your bid will automatically increase whenever another bidder exceeds your last bid, up to the maximum amount you defined – if someone attempts to bid up to that point, otherwise it will end before that – without you having to keep track of your bids. This functionality is a great way to ensure that you win a bid even if you are not available at the end of the auction.


Estimation: The estimation of the value of your spirits is quick, free and non-binding! What more can you ask for? Our estimation, calculated according to the FSA auction price estimate and the condition of your bottles, helps you decide whether to sell them. To obtain an estimate of the value of your bottles, simply fill in the online form and receive our answer within a week.


Expert examination: Each bottle sold on Fine Spirits Auction is examined by an expert who ensures its authenticity and describes its condition for maximum transparency. By examining the exterior of the bottle (cork, label, spirit level, colour…) we can provide you with as much information as possible to enable you to make an informed purchase. All relevant expert examination information is available in the ‘Lot description’. The examination is carried out by iDealwine, France’s leading wine auction house and a leading online wine auction house worldwide, and La Maison du Whisky, purveyor, official importer and exclusive distributor of numerous brands of spirits from around the world.
Please note: Fine Spirits Auction may refuse to sell any lot deemed to be in unsatisfactory condition.


Fine Spirits Auction (FSA for those in the know): In a nutshell: FSA is an auction platform completely dedicated to whiskies and fine spirits. Established by the joint initiative of La Maison du Whisky, a specialist in whiskies, rums and spirits since 1956, and iDealwine, one of the world’s leading online wine auctioneers (and the leading French wine auction house), Fine Spirits Auction brings together the two French leaders in these two sectors.

Unsold lots: In the event you auctioned a number of lots on FSA and some of these did not sell, they are referred to as your unsold items. They will automatically be shown again for three consecutive auctions; however, you may decide to retrieve them free of charge, with the exception of possible transport costs. All you need to do is send your retrieval request by email to [email protected]. Fortunately, such occurrences are extremely rare, as the conversion rates are excellent!

Starting bid: During the valuation and examination of your cellar, we will quote you a low and a high estimate for each of your lots. The low estimate generally corresponds to the starting bid, also known as a reserve price, the price from which buyers will be able to bid. However, you can very well decide to start the bidding at €1 in order to attract a maximum number of potential bidders.


Hammer price: The hammer price is the price at which a lot of spirits is sold. The buyer’s commission (fee) is added to the price paid by the lot’s successful bidder.


Auction report: An auction report is a record of a sale, so that everyone can see what was auctioned and at what price. All auction reports are available in the dedicated section of this website.


Payment: Once your spirits have found a buyer, Fine Spirits Auction guarantees the successful completion of the transaction. Payment is made 35 days after the end of the sale. You will receive payment by cheque or bank transfer.


Without reserve price: The reserve price constitutes the starting bid, in other words, the price below which a lot cannot be sold. This reserve price is set at the low end of the estimates provided. The seller can set a reserve price lower than the low range of the estimates, or decide not to set a reserve price at all. In this case, the starting bid is set at €1, an option that stimulates competition between bidders and is extremely popular among private customers and professionals alike.


Tracking: Our ‘Track this lot’ functionality enables you to keep an eye on a lot you are interested in. The lot you select will be placed in the ‘Watch list’ section of your menu, which you can then access easily. When you choose to track a lot, we’ll send you an email 45 minutes before it closes in case you’d like to place a last-minute bid!


Sale: FSA holds a sale approximately every 2 months. This sale usually runs for a couple of weeks.



For further information refer to this FAQ page

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Guarantee covering auction proceedings and regulations enforced by a licensed auctioneer.