Terms Dictionary


service offering professional advice on the purchase of artwork (also of those not included in the offer of DESA Unicum). It is the perfect solution for those who are unsure of what to buy or how much something is worth. The consultant assists the client in selecting from a variety of auction, gallery, and antiquarian items that will meet their aesthetic and investment expectations.

the term used in DESA Unicum's mobile app during the auction. It denotes the last opportunity to raise the bid before the last hammer fall, signaling the end of the bidding.

an organized public sale of items in which the buyer is the bidder with the highest price. The works of art or collectors' objects that can be viewed in advance at the pre-auction exhibition are the objects of purchase at the auction. The auctioneer presides over the auction, being responsible for ensuring adherence to the provided sales regulations. The auction is held in Polish; however, some auctions may also be held concurrently in English and German at the participant's express request. You are not required to make a deposit in order to take part in the auction. The majority of Poland's auctions, over 200, are organized by DESA Unicum. Among them are works by old masters; contemporary art; young art; and thematic art (such as works on paper, designs, photographs, comic book boards and illustrations, jewelry, artistic graphics, and sculptures). DESA also conducts charity auctions, auctions of collections, and biddings requested by private parties.

a special identification code that is given to each auction in DESA Unicum. It allows you to distinguish between each auction. The auction code can be found on the online auction website as well as in each auction catalogue.

a fixed percentage that covers all of the services of the DESA Unicum auction house’s intermediary in the sale. The fee is added to the hammer price and constitutes the final lot price, amounting to 20%. In the event of a post-auction sale when the item has not been sold as part of the auction, the buyer’s premium shall also be applicable.

an exhibition held a few days before the auction, allowing viewing of all the objects put up for auction. The exhibition is free of charge and open to the public. We encourage you to speak with our experts during the visit, who will gladly respond to all inquiries and provide thorough information about specific items.

the legally binding price that a bidder offers for each item during the auction. The bidder signals it to the auctioneer by picking up the paddle.

the totals received from the sale of all items that were put up for auction, including the hammer price and the buyer’s premium. The results of the auctions are published immediately after each auction on the desa.pl website.

the person who presides over the auction. The auctioneer initiates the sale of a lot by stating the starting bid and deciding on the amount of the following increments. Once the first offer is made, others may offer higher bids. The auctioneer identifies the bidders, signals the end of the auction, and names the winning bidder. If a work sells, the auctioneer uses the hammer and announces, “sold” to close the bidding. The objects may be freely divided or combined by the auctioneer, who can also withdraw them from the auction without providing reasons. Prior to the start of the auction, the auctioneer or a person that the auctioneer designates may add to or modify the descriptions that appear in the auction catalogue.

a formal proposal made by the bidder during the auction to buy the item. The auctioneer's acceptance of the offer to purchase the item makes the offer legally binding.

it is DESA Unicum's auction platform that enables online participation in the auction. Clients can bid online on offered items in real time. You must register no later than 12 hours before the start of the auction in order to participate using bid.desa.pl. Once you have registered on the auction portal, please wait for information from one of our employees who, after checking the information, will decide whether or not to allow you to participate in the auction.

an individual or entity actively participating in the auction. The bidder can place a bid in person, over the phone, or online. The auction is won by the bidder who submitted the highest bid accepted by the auctioneer. The winning bidder is personally liable for paying the price of the purchased items.

a method used to sell the items. The bidding proceeds at a rate of 60-100 items per hour. Bidding is always done "upwards" through increment.

bidding through DESA Unicum's representative on the indicated item at a price specified by the client. The client specifies the maximum price he/she wants to pay for a specific item using the form available on the website, in the auction catalogues, or at our auction house's headquarters. Our representatives shall make every effort to ensure that the client pays the lowest possible price (but not less than the guaranteed price) for the item they have chosen. The transaction is conditional if the limit is lower than the guaranteed price. In the case where there are two or more commissions with the same limit, the order of the requests determines the outcome. This service is free of charge and confidential.

an organized list of the items offered for sale at a particular auction. The catalogue includes accurate photos of the items and provides basic information about them, such as the name of the artist, the work's title, its creation date, its provenance, and the major exhibitions and publications where it has been displayed, as well as a precise description of each object. The catalogue is accessible in electronic format on the desa.pl website. The catalogue is also available in printed form for some auctions.

items presented in the auction catalogue. They include illustrations along with professional valuation and a reliable catalogue description based on experience as well as professional knowledge of our employees and the cooperating experts. The auctioneer or an authorized person may add to or change the descriptions in the auction catalogue before the start of the auction.

a document outlining the terms under which the consignor shall sell the item. It specifies the minimum sale price, the consignment fee, and the amount due to the owner. The contract must be signed for the item to be eligible for an auction with a predetermined minimum sale price. If the price originally stipulated in the agreement increases during the auction, the amount due to the consignor is proportionately higher.

see "conditional transaction". It is a contract for a conditional sale made either during an auction or a so-called non-auction sale.

a contract concluded in the event the item did not reach the guaranteed price. A conditional transaction is treated as a binding purchase of the item at the hammer price. We undertake to negotiate the price with the consignor, but we cannot promise that you will be able to buy the item at the hammer price. The sales agreement becomes effective if the client decides to raise the tender during negotiations to the level of the guaranteed price or if we accept the hammer price offered by the buyer. The item is regarded as unsold if the negotiations are not concluded within five working days of the auction date. During this time after the auction, we reserve the right to accept bids for conditionally sold items that amount to the guaranteed price. We inform the client who conditionally bought the item if another bidder makes such an offer. In this event, the client has the right to raise his offer to the guaranteed price and is given priority to buy the item. If not, the conditional transaction is void and the item may be sold to a different bidder.

a fee charged by DESA Unicum to the consignor for the sold item.

the right granted to artists and their heirs to receive a fee on the professional resale of the original works of art they own. The items subject to this right are additionally charged based on the rates provided in the DESA Unicum's Auction Sale Terms and Conditions. The items subject to the droit de suite is marked with the "clover" symbol in the catalogue.

although auction transactions are completed in PLN, the auction catalogue estimates may be provided in EUR, GBP, or USD. They roughly represent the price for foreign clients at the current exchange rate. This information should only be used as a guide since the exchange rate on the day of the auction might vary from that on the day the catalogue was issued.

also called the estimated price. This is the estimated value that the item can reach at the auction. Estimates are based on the opinions of auction house experts on the basis of the item's state, uniqueness, quality, and provenance, as well as recent auction records of comparable pieces. The auction catalogue typically includes estimates for each item. The bidding ends when the price is within the estimate or above its high estimate. The estimate does not include the buyer’s premium or any additional fees.

a specialist in particular artistic disciplines, with extensive experience in confirming and verifying the authenticity of works of art.

a tool the auctioneer uses during the auction. When the hammer goes down, it signals that the auctioneer has accepted the highest offer for the item, concluding the sales contract between the buyer and DESA Unicum.

it is the minimum price for which the item can be sold without consulting the consignor. The guaranteed price is set between the starting bid and the low estimate. The guaranteed price is confidential. Each item may, but does not have to, have a guaranteed price. If the bidding ends before the guaranteed price is reached, the end of the bidding shall result in a conditional transaction. It is announced when the auctioneer’s hammer falls.

the winning bid for a lot at an auction. Traditionally referred to as the "hammer price" due to the symbolic fall of the auctioneer’s hammer, determining the sale price and ending the bidding. The hammer price does not include the buyer's premium; therefore, it is not the real price (purchase price).

the amount by which the auctioneer increases the bidding. The auctioneer states the following increments in line with the increment table. The auctioneer may decide, at his or her discretion, on the amount of increment depending on the course of the auction.

an object offered for auction (by the consignor) in DESA Unicum. It may be a work of art or an object of a collector's value.

a unique number given to each DESA Unicum auction item.

named after a German artist active at the beginning of the 20th century, has been given annually to artists residing and working in Berlin since 1960 for their overall artistic accomplishments. The Akademie der Künste and the Cologne Kreissparkasse jointly organize and sponsor the competition. Prizes include 12,000 euros and the opportunity for the winner to hold a monographic exhibition and publication of his/her works. Mona Hatoum and Adrian Piper are among the artists who have won the competition.

an award given yearly to artists residing in France by the ADIAF (Association pour la Diffusion Internationale de l'Art Français). The competition's winner receives a prize of 35,000 euros as well as up to 30,000 euros in funding to hold his/her exhibition at the Paris Center Georges Pompidou. Thomas Hirschhorn won the first prize in 2001, and Lili Reynaud-Dewar received it in 2021.

the term used to describe the item's objective, persisting market value as determined by the auction records.

you can also take part in any auction via the Internet. The DESA Unicum bidding platform (https://bid.desa.pl) is used for live online bidding. The platform also allows you to watch the live auction without registering.

the term used to describe an item that did not sell at the auction. The auctioneer reads the pass during the auction of a particular item if it did not reach the guaranteed price and the sales contract has not been concluded as part of the auction.

direct and active participation in the auction held at DESA Unicum. Personal participation in the auction requires filling out the registration form and collecting your plate with the number. After the auction is over, return the number plate to the point of registration and, in case you made a purchase, collect the confirmation of concluding a transaction.

a plate displaying the number assigned to a bidder, which must be collected prior to the auction at the registration point. The person participating in the auction uses it to bid. The auctioneer reads the number on the paddle each time the price is raised and when the bidder wins the auction.

the right of registered museums to purchase monuments first directly at the auction, with the hammer price increased by the buyer’s premium.

information regarding the origins of the item or previous owners. This documentation helps to confirm the authorship of the work and determine its value.

also called the real price. It is the final price that is paid for the purchase by the buyer. It consists of the hammer price, buyer's premium, and additional fees that appear in the catalogue designation of the item.

an international German industrial and applied design competition organized by Red Dot GmbH & Co. KG. The prize has been awarded annually since 1955 in several categories, including product design, communication design, and design concepts. The winning items become part of the collection of the iconic museum – the Design Centre North-Rhine Westphalia in Essen. Among the several Polish winners throughout the years was Oskar Zięta and his Zieta Studio.

a form created by DESA Unicum that participants must fill out in order to take part in the auction.

a person with extensive knowledge of the art world and expert knowledge of the art market.

it is also known as the first increment. This is the price from which the auctioneer starts the bidding. The process of bidding is upward, so the final bid can be higher than or equal to the starting bid. The auctioneer decides on the starting bid.

the current condition of an item. The catalogue descriptions contain basic information about the object's condition, but they may fail to depict its complete state. The absence of this information does not imply that the item is free from defects and damage. It is therefore recommended that anyone interested in purchasing a specific item conduct a thorough inspection of the object at the pre-auction exhibition and seek advice from a qualified conservator, whom we can recommend upon express request. We can provide you with a thorough report on the status of the item's condition at the client's special request.

placing a bid via telephone using one of DESA Unicum's representatives. Before a particular item's bidding process begins, the representative contacts the client and bids on the item on the client's behalf up to the specified amount. This service is free and confidential. The request must be submitted using the form available on the website and in the auction catalogue or at the DESA Unicum headquarters at least 24 hours prior to the start of the auction. If you wish to bid via the phone, please provide the DESA Unicum representative with both the phone number through which you can be reached during the auction and the lot number you wish to bid on.

awarded by the Tate Britain art museum since 1984. The competition is open to artists under the age of 50 who live permanently or were born in the United Kingdom. The artist's most recent successes are given more weight in the award than their overall body of work. The winner receives 25,000 pounds. In 2021, the artistic group Array Collective was declared the winner.

official evaluation and analysis of the item's value. It serves as the basis for calculating the estimated price. If the work is put up for auction in DESA Unicum, the Commission's valuation of the item is free of charge. Written valuations, which are offered as a service separate from commissioning us to sell your item, are determined individually.

the term used in DESA Unicum's mobile app during the auction. It indicates the auctioneer's first confirmation of the price and the approaching end of the auction. The warning gives a fair chance of winning the auction to all interested bidders, giving the last chance to increase the bid.r.

the term used to describe an item that has been withdrawn from sale after receiving no bids or failing to sell for the minimum price. It continues to be the consignor's property. The item may be removed from the auction by the auctioneer without providing a reason.

pioneering auction project by DESA Unicum operating since 2008. It is a selection of works representing emerging art, which allows you to familiarize yourself with the original collection defining the current trends. Auctions of Young Art aim to promote artists of the new generation—young, talented creators whose first steps in the world of the art market often take place at the auctions. The goal of DESA Unicum is to promote collecting in Poland, and events like these may be of great value for the popularization of communing with art.