Buying & Selling

Buying | Selling

Buying with Merrill's

Merrill's offers a variety of methods to give buyers the opportunity to purchase unique items at auction. All of our items are sold live at public auction, and you are welcome to join us for in-person bidding at our gallery in Williston, VT on the day of the sale. No matter what your interests are, our staff is here to assist you to the best of our ability with accurate descriptions, information, help contacting shippers, e-mailing photos, payments, or simply reserving you a seat for sale day.

Previewing objects in person before the auction is recommended as all items are sold AS IS, WHERE IS, WITH NO WARRANTY IMPLIED OR EXPRESSED. Any written or verbal condition report is a statement of our opinion and makes no warranty of age, quality, merchantability or authorship. Please preview thoroughly before purchase and if you are not completely satisfied as to an item's authenticity or origins please do not bid on that lot. Previewing provides the benefit of closely examining lots prior to sale in order to determine your level of interest in the items offered. Our knowledgeable staff can also provide descriptions by phone, as well as supplementary images and inquiry responses via e-mail. 

We cannot warranty any timepieces or items of a mechanical nature; due to the inherently fragile characteristics of their workings, their condition may be affected by transporting. Under no circumstances will any return or refund be considered after 30 days have elapsed. Open preview exhibitions are held the day of the sale immediately prior to commencement, or as otherwise advertised. If you cannot attend at these times, private previews are encouraged by appointment. 


Visit our auction gallery at 137 James Brown Drive in Williston, Vermont or join us for our occasional on-site sales at various locations throughout the region. Register upon entry at the counter with our bookkeepers the day of the sale to get your bidding number paddle and enjoy a classic live auction experience. New bidders should bring a photo ID, and dealers registering for the first time should bring their sales tax ID numbers.

Absentee/Left Bids

If you cannot attend our sale in person, buyers are invited to leave absentee bids. Please contact us to make arrangements to come preview prior to the sale and complete the absentee bidder cards provided in our gallery. Record the maximum amount you are willing to pay for the lot, with consideration for the Buyer's Premium and sales tax (if applicable) in the final sum. The auctioneer will execute your bid against the audience in a competitive manner as though you were bidding on the lot in person. We do NOT start your bid at the top amount. If no bid is offered from the audience, the auctioneer will generally open your absentee bid at 50% of the stated maximum amount. In the event that we receive two identical bids, the first bid received will take precedence over the second.

Phone Bids

As a convenience to our buyers, we offer limited phone lines for bidding, at our discretion, on a first come-first served basis. Due to staff constraints, it is our policy to start phone bids at $200. If you wish to bid on an item for less than that amount, please leave an absentee bid instead. We encourage phone bidders to leave a backup bid amount in the event that our staff cannot reach you, especially in the case of international bidders. While we make every reasonable effort to execute phone bids, we are not responsible in the event of a missed bid, lost or dropped calls, inaudible communication, wrong number, or busy signal. We may require a credit card for security purposes to allocate a phone line for bidding.

Internet Bidding

Our cataloged sales offer real time bidding on two online platforms, allowing you to view lot descriptions, images, and to bid from your home or phone whether you are across town or overseas. Pre-register and leave a bid prior to the sale, or bid during the auction. Visit our current auction page to access a link to our catalogs. Pre-registration through those systems is required, and authorization to bid may be required by one of our staff. While we strive to be accurate with our online reporting, our bookkeeper's in house record will serve as the final record of sale in the event of a dispute. Likewise we are not responsible for delays, lags, or technical issues presented with internet bidding.


All firearms are sold in accordance with Federal laws and the laws of the state of Vermont. We do not sell ANY firearms to buyers outside of the U.S. We require an FFL/NCIS background check on all buyers of Firearms produced after 1898. Any firearms sold outside of our area must be transferred to a valid FFL license holder. We are not responsible for failed background checks or transfers. We sell all firearms as is, and encourage all buyers to have a qualified expert inspect them prior to firing. Laws vary from state to state; please check your local laws to ensure you can possess the item you are planning to bid on.

Flat Art

Assume unless otherwise stated that paintings are presented in frames. We do our best to present paintings in the manner which they appear, however due to the vaugeries of photography occasionally paintings may appear more vivid, or colors will appear differently when viewed in person than when viewed online. We likewise will do our best to handle all items carefully but cannot be held accountable for losses or damage to frames. Any noted size in our catalog description refers only to Canvas or Image size of a work and will be presented as H x W. Assume that your painting may be up to 7 inches larger per side when figuring for shipping. If you have other questions feel free to contact our staff.

Picking Up Your Purchase/Shipping

Unless otherwise noted all lots will be available to pick up at our gallery in Williston, VT. For local bidders, we ask that you pay for and remove your items within one week of the auction. For absentee and online buyers we ask that you make arrangements to remove your lots within one week of the auction. We can help make reasonable arrangements with third party shippers to have items delivered outside of our area. Merrill's does not ship, nor can we offer shipping quotes or insurance. As a preventitive measure against buyer fraud, Lots of Jewlery , Watches or Precious metals purchased remotely by new or unfamiliar buyers may be held up to 30 days by Merrill's to insure clear payment. 

We are not responsible for lots left at our gallery after the auction. Any lots left longer than 14 days without prior arrangements may be subject to a storage fee of $50 per month. Any items left longer than 60 days without prior authorization may be resold to recoup handling costs.


We accept Cash, Check, Wire Transfer, PayPal and all major credit cards. For large purchases we may ask un-established buyers to provide payment through Wire Transfer or check. We reserve the right to charge cards left on file at our discretion.

Buyer's Premium

A Buyer's Premium of 15% for in house sales, or 23% for online sales regardless of payment method, will be applied to all purchases. On purchases exceeding $7,500 a 2% surcharge will be applied to credit card purchases. No additional charge will be added for wire transfers.

Sales Tax

All Sales in our gallery are subject to a 7% State and Local Sales Tax. Please present our bookkeeper with your Vermont sales tax ID number upon registration if you are a dealer. Due to Regulations of the Vermont Department of Taxes we can only honor Vermont SUT tax numbers. Please keep this in mind if you are traveling to pick up lots.

By bidding in our auction you are agreeing to abide by all terms set forth herein. If you have any questions about these terms, please contact our staff.

Selling with Merrill's

Merrill's is always seeking quality items for consignments from your single lot, an entire estate, or collection. We offer competitive commission rates with no additional fees. Your art and antiques are placed in various sales that are designed to maximize return by selling to a local, regional, and international audience with live on line bidding, phone bidding, absentee bidding, and conventional in-person bidding. For a first time consignor, the auction process can initially seem daunting and confusing. Terms and conditions of sale differ greatly from auctioneer to auctioneer. We do our best to make the process as simple and straight forward as possible. We provide free consultation for prospective consignors. Our staff will gladly examine your antique & fine art items and offer auction estimates and advice. For pieces you are able to transport, we are available to assess them at our Gallery in Williston, VT Monday through Friday 9:00 am until 4:00pm (A phone call in advance is advised). For larger items or entire estates we will gladly travel to your location at no cost. Please do not throw things away until after we come to evaluate your items. More often than not, the best pieces might not be readily apparent, and could potentially be of significant interest at auction. If you have questions about your antiques or would like to send photos for our consideration, we are also available by email at Once you have decided to sell with us, we offer a competitive flat rate commission based on the final hammer price. There are no additional charges of any kind for insurance, photography, transportation, storage, advertising, internet listing, etc. Our staff will provide you with an inventory and contract upon receiving your items. We guarantee payment within 30 days of the date of sale, and your consignment is covered by our insurance policy in our secure storage facility. With over 20 auctions a year we will put your items into the right sale to gather an appropriate buying crowd. We advertise locally, regionally, as well as at the national and international level. Please see our gallery of previous auction prices.

On-Site Auctions

A New England tradition for centuries, this tried and true method of sale still has a strong return for consignors and a place in the modern auction world. There has always been great allure for buyers in traveling through the countryside to find that special item in a hidden estate. After three generations, Merrill’s has conducted over a thousand on-site auctions throughout New England, New York and Canada. The first step toward an on-site auction is to schedule a free consultation with a Merrill's Auctioneers & Appraisers staff member. Depending on your location, quantity of salable lots, parking, available tent site, and catering possibilities, we will determine if this method of sale is right for you. From this point, we enter a sales contract with a flat commission rate. This would be contingent upon the estimated value of the sale. Access to the home several weeks in advance of the chosen sale date to photograph and list the contents to advertise is necessary. The week prior to the sale Merrill’s sets up tents, chairs, wiring, lights, arranges the contents of the house for display, and cleans the space to make the proper auction site. Previews are generally the morning of the sale. After the day(s) of the auction, depending on volume of salable material, Merrill’s removes our tents, chairs, and trash, leaving the outside of the home clean. After the interior contents are sold and trucked away by their new owners, the house is left close to empty as possible. Cleaning to a broom swept condition is always our goal depending on the home. The on-site auction method offers the opportunity to sell anything in the house that is not affixed, to maximize the return that might not to be realized otherwise. It also provides a great opportunity for clients selling their home to expose it to hundreds of potential buyers.