Auctioneers are persons authorized to conduct public auctions. They are professionals who have acquired expertise in one or more artistic fields.
In France, the regulations concerning the status of the profession are strict. Although the historical term ‘commissaire-priseur’ is commonly used in French, the profession has been divided into two distinct professions since 1 July 2022:
- The auctioneers carry out voluntary sales at the request of private individuals. They work in commercial companies (Société de Ventes Volontaires or S.V.V.).
- The commissioners of Justice, ministerial officers appointed by order of the Minister of Justice, carry out judicial sales, i.e. those prescribed by law or by court order. This new regulated profession, resulting from the Macron law of 6 August 2015 and in place since 1 July 2022, brings together the former professions of judicial auctioneers and bailiffs.
In other countries, the auctioneer is the person who, within the auction house, is authorized to sell the lots in a sale.