'We shall rise to the new challenges that lie ahead' - David Sumner (auctioneer)
- Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Well, this is supposed to be a quick summary of the events of the year in the world of auctions and marketing antiques and collectables. I am not sure I can do that in just a few paragraphs but here goes.
The year started nicely with antique sales doing well across the region. General sale items flooded in and prices were good. Then it all went strange in March - Covid-19 appeared and the world changed. Many auction houses almost went to the wall but quick thinking and moving into the virtual world saved the day.
We all clapped the care workers, nurses and doctors, donned masks and gloves, bought buckets of sanitizer and some bought a lot of toilet rolls, planning for dysentery not Covid. The general public started buying more at auction than ever and the price of gold and silver rocketed, bizarrely leading to one of our best years yet as well as some other small provincial auction houses.
We had no spectacular surprises, and I am struggling to think of a single purchase that made over £2000 but we did turn over a lot of stock. From April to August we had a sale a week, as I had nothing better to do because of lockdown. The sales we held in my front room with no tangible audience only my teenage daughter, chickens, cats and dogs. Nothing has changed since as we move into the second lockdown and nothing looks to change in the near future.
Our auction house is on the move as well as others. I will be working from home and doing sales at Escot village hall once a month after Covid disappears and sanctions are lifted. Most antique fairs have been cancelled in the short term and antique shops and centres have in general struggled to survive due to the necessary Covid-19 restrictions. They too have found different ways of marketing their products. Whether it is on eBay or Facebook or other selling platforms, some have also set up their own auction houses as a way of beating the restrictions and moved to selling in tied sales where no auctioneer is actually required.
However, this is evolution or progress, and change can be slightly daunting at first, but we shall rise to the new challenges that lie ahead. So, keep posted for these occasional scribblings to find out how the transition is going. In the wise words of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus “There is nothing permanent except change.”