16th February 2017

In the image there is a selection of my growing collection of gavels. To be honest, some are mallets, but they will do the same job. One is even marked 'lucky', written after a particularly successful sale. Alas, I have not been so lucky on the rostrum, using this particular gavel since!

But these beautifully turned gavels reflect my impossible love affair with auctions. They are a microcosm of life itself. People from all backgrounds competing with each other. But most of all, auctions are fun and socially interesting. I have often explained to people that an auction has often felt to me like a 'cocktail party', with folk dressing up, down or just badly in a social setting. People finding friends and making new ones. Sharing food and drink, stories and advice.

There is a tangible excitement in a room before an auction starts. Some people have been like the proverbial 'German tourist', bagging their seat hours in advance, with their coat on their chair, instead of their sun lounger with their towels.

With announcements over, the sale begins and we start to gauge how well the auction is going. Have the regulars turned up to bid? Is there a lot of interest online? Are the bidders quiet and attentive or have they just come to the sales for the 'social'?

In many ways, the calling of bids is subconscious and instinctive. More important, is the spotting of the bids, the changing of ones tone, so to create atmosphere. An auctioneer must make sure he is 'on the right foot' thus landing on any reserve that may be placed. Tone and pace is critical to success, because we are trying to hold people's interest and create an atmosphere of lively competition. No one likes a boring auctioneer.

It is quite an intense business and often we have to make instant decisions and this is when relationship with the vendor is helpful. Sometimes an auctioneer has more leeway and freedom to sell for one client than another and we can use our initiative. Selling is certainly a buzz, particularly when it is going really well.

When the sale is finished, there are often verbal bids to consider on items 'unsold' in the auction. This is often when a buyer may feel remorse, for not bidding in the auction, as often the auctioneers 'hands are tied' by agreements with consignors before the sale and the bidder is not able to purchase their 'dream' addition to a collection.

All done, the auction day is pretty hectic and full of surprises. So, if you are reading this and have never been to an auction. Come and introduce yourself to our friendly staff and we will give you some great advice and we hope you enjoy the auctions.