FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONSF . A . Q . 

General Questions

For Sellers (Consignors) | To Jump to Buyers (Bidders), Click Here

I have a piece of pottery I want to sell, but it's probably only worth a few hundred dollars. Do you only sell high-value items or will you sell my piece for me?

We sell pottery in almost all price ranges! Most of the pieces we sell, in fact, are not exceptional, ultra-rare examples. Some people look at our highlights pages and assume that we only deal in those sorts of pieces, but that is not the case. Please feel free to contact us with your antique American stoneware or redware and if we feel it would be a good fit for our auction catalog, we will be happy to discuss its value with you. (Click here for more info on having us sell your pottery for you.)

Can I send you photos of my piece(s) for evaluation?

Absolutely! In fact, we are almost always unable to give an accurate value of an item without seeing photos of it. The easiest way for you to send photos to us is to email them to info@crockerfarm.com. (If you have questions about how to do that, feel free to contact us.) If you'd rather send us photos the old-fashioned way, you can simply mail them to Crocker Farm, 15900 York Rd, Sparks, MD 21152.

We offer a 100% free pre-auction evaluation of your pottery, so feel free to contact us.

What is your commission?

We charge the seller rates as low as 12.5% of the selling price, with a nominal listing fee per lot.

How long does it take for me to receive payment after the auction, and how am I paid?

We mail you a check within 30 days of the auction.

How do I get my items to you?

There are basically three ways for us to receive your pieces:

Because we deal with consignors from all over the country, most of the pieces we sell are shipped to us. See "How should I ship my pottery?" below.

In the case of large collections or extremely valuable pieces, when feasible we can often pick up your pieces, and we travel extensively.

If you live nearby or otherwise would like to deliver your pieces, we are very accessible at our auction gallery, 15900 York Road, Sparks, Maryland 21152. (Directions.) Please simply contact us at least a day ahead of time if you'd like to meet with us there, as we are open by appointment only.

How should I ship my pottery?

We have been packing and shipping stoneware and redware for thirty years, so we are well-versed in this area. While these methods can vary somewhat depending on what you are shipping, following these steps is a good rule of thumb for safe transit of anything you may wish to send.

The main step you can take in making sure your pottery arrives safely is double-boxing with styrofoam peanuts and/or bubble wrap. In other words, you should pack your item in one box that it fits in comfortably, and ideally you should wrap that item in bubble wrap then fill the box with peanuts. You should then take that first box and put that inside another box in which it fits comfortably. You should fill the space between those two boxes with peanuts.

Realistically, you do have some leeway in packing materials. For instance, depending on the size of a piece, peanuts alone can probably do the job. However, the method above is the ideal packing method. If you have questions at all about this, please feel free to contact us.

Many of our customers do not pack their own items, but simply have the UPS Store do it for them. Click here for a list of UPS Store locations.

As far as the actual shipping process goes, we have been recommending UPS for years and feel that they do a great job handling our packages. However, we also use the U.S. Postal Service frequently, and have been happy with FedEx. Basically, if you pack your item well, short of some strange catastrophe, it will arrive safely without any problems. We have shipped and received thousands of pieces over the last five years alone and have had very few actual problems with shipping damage, and almost every single one was the result of poor packing.

UPS Ground, USPS Priority Mail, and FedEx Ground are the specific services we generally recommend using.

Our shipping address is:

Crocker Farm, Inc.
15900 York Road
Sparks, MD 21152

What kind of paperwork is involved in consigning to you?

The only paperwork you have to deal with is our simple consignment agreement, which we generally mail you after we receive your item(s). (We are also more than happy to email you a PDF ahead of time that you can include in your box if you prefer.) In our consignment contract, you agree to just a few simple points: That you own the items, that you want us to sell them for you, that you agree to pay our low rate, and that we pay you within 30 days of the auction in which they are sold.

For Buyers (Bidders)

When is your next auction?

We always keep you posted on our home page about our next auction date. At this time, our stoneware / redware auctions tend to be held in March, July and October.

How do I bid?

Please click here for a complete rundown of how to bid.

Can anyone bid?

Yes! We welcome all to participate. Again, please visit our How to Bid page to familiarize yourself with our process, but all it takes to sign up is a quick filling out of our registration page.

When do you post your online catalog?

Leading up to any given auction, we add photos of selected "Featured Lots" to showcase what we feel are exceptional pieces. However, those lots are just a fraction of the hundreds of pieces we sell in each of our auctions. Usually about two weeks before our auction date, we post a full, free online catalog for you to view. You can even leave absentee bids right from each item page, and while this is our preferred bidding method, there are other easy ways for you to bid. (Click here for more info.) Here's a link to an online catalog from one of our completed previous sales, just to give you an idea of what it looks like.

When will the print catalog be ready?

Our printed catalog--a spiral-bound, full-color, roughly 150-page book--is one of the very best references on American stoneware and redware you can buy today. We always try to mail the catalog about two weeks before auction day, but sometimes we don't achieve this goal, particularly if we receive a lot of last-minute consignments.

How do I buy a copy of your catalog?

You can order our catalog a few different ways:

Visit our online store at www.crockerfarm.com/store/ and order with your credit card.

Give us a call at (410) 472-2016, and you can pay by credit card, as well.

Mail a check (made payable to "Crocker Farm") to: Crocker Farm, 15900 York Road, Sparks, MD 21152. We charge $30 per catalog and $7.35 for flat-rate Priority Mail shipping.

Our shipping rate for catalogs is flat, so if we charge you $7.35 to ship a $30 catalog via Priority Mail, if you buy three catalogs, your total will be $97.35.

Can I look at the pieces in person?

Yes! We hold an auction preview during which you can view and handle every lot in the sale. If you're unable to attend the preview but would still like to view some pieces before you bid, we are happy to schedule a private viewing, so please feel free to contact us.

How do you notify me if I'm a successful bidder?

If you were a successful bidder and we have an email address on file for you, you will receive an invoice via email early the following week (usually by the end of day, Monday). If we do not have an email address on file for you, we mail you a paper invoice. If you prefer to be contacted another way, just let us know.

The invoice we send you will include the items you won, their hammer prices, your buyer's premium (see "What is your buyer's premium ... ?" below), and your shipping / insurance fee (see "How do I receive the items I won?" below).

How do I receive the items I won?

If you live nearby or would just rather pick your items up, you can feel free to visit our gallery in Sparks, MD and take possession of your won lots. (We are open by appointment only, so please contact us before you make the trip.) However, the vast majority of our bidders have their items shipped to them.

We are experts in packing and shipping utilitarian American pottery and have shipped thousands of pieces over the last almost-thirty years. Unlike many auction houses that require you to deal with a third-party shipper, we do all of our own packing in-house, and send your pieces on their way to your doorstep.

We ship via UPS Ground.

On occasion we have people ask before the auction what a particular piece will cost to ship from Maryland to a particular Zip Code. We are happy to provide a rough estimate for this purpose, but there are a few different factors that determine what we will charge to ship an item--for instance, how many pieces you won (we can often combine a couple of smaller pieces into one box), and what the item ends up selling for (the insurance value is a big part of determining the cost of transporting an item). In general, just to give you a rough idea of what this usually costs, a not-overly-sized vessel (say, two gallons or under) shipped to a not-too-distant location (say, the northeastern U.S.) with a not-very-high hammer price (say, $300) will probably cost you around $35 to pack and ship.

What is your buyer's premium (and what is a buyer's premium)?

A buyer's premium is an almost-universal fee charged at auction houses, paid by the buyer as a percentage of the hammer price. Our buyer's premium for check and cash payments received with 15 days of your invoice is 20%. For example, let's say you win a lot that is hammered down for $1000 and you pay right away by check. Your buyer's premium is $200 (20% of $1000) and you would write us a check for $1200.

There are some other possible fees that can be added onto the hammer price of the lots you win, depending on how you bid or how you pay, as follows:

If you pay by credit card or PayPal, there is a 3.5% surcharge on your total bill (hammer price plus buyer's premium). (In the above example, the amount you would owe if paying by credit card would be $1242.)

Payment is due upon receipt of your invoice, and payments that are not received within 15 days of your invoice are subject to a 5% surcharge on the hammer price.

Do I have to pay sales tax?

We are required to collect sales tax for only two states: Maryland and Pennsylvania. The rate for each is 6%. Whether or not you must pay sales tax depends on your circumstances:

If you are bidding over the phone, via the internet, or absentee; you do not live in either Maryland or Pennsylvania; and you have your item(s) shipped to you, you pay no sales tax.

If you are bidding over the phone, via the internet, or absentee; and you do live in Maryland or Pennsylvania; you must pay sales tax (unless you have a retail sales tax number; see below).

If you attend the auction in person, even if you are not a Maryland / Pennsylvania resident, you must pay sales tax (unless you have a retail sales tax number; see below).

If you would otherwise be required to pay sales tax in one of the scenarios above, but you have a retail sales tax number, you do not have to pay sales tax unless your total payment is less than $200. (The State of Maryland will not allow a tax exemption unless you are paying $200 or more.) You can use a sales tax number from any of the 50 states; Maryland will, in the case of "antiques and used collectibles," accept sales tax numbers from other states, but you must provide us with a copy of your certificate.


©2020 Crocker Farm, Inc. | info@crockerfarm.com | (410) 472-2016