Material Culture aims to make bidding as easy, accessible and enjoyable as possible, and consequently offers several different ways to purchase items at our auctions.


The advantage to coming in person is that you can have the opportunity to look over our lots yourself before bidding begins. When you arrive, visit the registration desk in order to receive a bidder number. The easiest way to register is to provide us with a valid Driver’s License or other government-issued photo ID, and any major credit card.

If you do not wish to use a credit card, you may provide us with a bank letter of credit instead. The letter must include your account number, and the line of credit available to you. Please note that if you wish to use a bank letter in lieu of a credit card, we will need to receive the letter with sufficient time before the auction to verify the information with your bank. Once credit has been established, you are also free to pay in cash, or by wire transfer.

Utilizing LiveAuctioneers, you may now bid live from the privacy of your own computer or leave an absentee bid to be executed by LiveAuctioneers. Please visit us on LiveAuctioneers to review the current sale options and deadlines for bidding on their website. Be sure to read the published Terms and Conditions when registering via the online bidding services as rules, bidding deadlines differ slightly from bidding directly with Material Culture.

If you are new to LiveAuctioneers, you must click on “create account” in the upper right hand corner of the LiveAuctioneers web site. Fill out the required information, and, once you have verified your email address, you can sign up for any upcoming auction at Material Culture that is posted on LiveAuctioneers.

All clients are required to provide a major Credit Card account number and expiration date in order to be approved to bid with Material Culture. All bidders must also provide their full name, address, email address, and phone number when registering for an account with LiveAuctioneers.

You can also arrange to have one of the members of our auction staff call you during the auction to place bids by telephone. Phones are reserved on a first come, first served basis; though we will do our best to accommodate everyone wishing to bid by telephone, our phone bank is limited and it will be to your advantage to reserve a phone early! Phone reservations can be received no later than 5 PM EST the day prior to the auction date.

In order to reserve a telephone, please fill out a MCA Phone Bid Request. We will need a major credit card number to complete your reservation, though you are welcome to pay for your winning auction items by other means. Please indicate the lot numbers of your items of interest, along with a short description. You may send us your telephone bidder form in one of the following ways:

You may call us on 215-438-4700 to confirm our receipt of your Phone Bid Request. During the auction, we will call you several minutes before your lot comes up. Please be sure to be available at the telephone number you give us at least a half an hour before the estimated call time. We will make every effort to contact you, but cannot be held accountable if we are unable to reach you.

Once the bidding begins, a member of our staff will guide you through the auction as it proceeds. We will relate the asking price as it increases, and you can communicate with us about whether or not you want to stay in. Bidding can move very quickly, so be prepared to respond swiftly if you wish to compete for a lot. We will let you know, when the final hammer price is declared, whether or not you were the winner.

If you are unavailable at the time of our auction, you may send us an Absentee Bid Form one of the following ways:

On the form, please indicate your maximum bid on every lot that interests you. This amount excludes the buyer’s premium, or any shipping-related costs. We will also need you to provide a major Credit Card number to secure your bid. Alternatively, you can include a bank letter of credit with your account number and line of available credit, or arrange a cash deposit totaling 1/3 of your full bid amount. You may call us at 215-438-4700 to confirm our receipt of your Absentee Bid Form. Absentee Bid Forms may be submitted up to 30 lots before the item comes up for auction.

We make every effort to take care of our absentee bidders. Your maximum bid will always remain strictly confidential, and will be executed competitively by a member of our auction staff. This means that we start with the lowest bidding amount and increase your bid incrementally, only going up to your maximum bid if necessary. If, for example, your maximum bid was $300, but the bidding stops at $150, we will give you the lower selling price.

All absentee bids received will be recorded with the date and time of their arrival. In the event of a tie between absentee bidders, the lot will sell to the bid we received first. Ties between an absentee bidder and a floor bidder will be decided in favor of the bidder attending the auction in person.

Terms & Conditions

Please see the Terms & Conditions listed with each Upcoming AuctionNote: Terms & Conditions may vary between different auctions.