A behind the scenes glimpse into creating the excitement of the auction….

Share our everyday…

Auctions are fast-paced, sometimes chaotic, usually fascinating displays of various beautiful weird or wonderful items. Between the sales however, the auction house is a hive of activity in many forms, and the complexity of putting an auction together is not often seen…

Where do auction items come from?

Throughout the month the auction house receives goods for sale via open valuation days, drop in visits from customers, deliveries from removal companies and via organised house clearances, or estate collections. Items range from jewellery and collector’s items through to large quantities of furniture, including the contents of historic houses, public buildings and churches, and on one occasion a ship…

How does it work?

Between auctions, our two salerooms, totalling 10,000 square feet of space, are a constantly shifting sea of furniture, with customers collecting goods from sale, and deliveries arriving daily. All items arriving at the premises are given a receipt, and must be labelled with unique reference numbers, before being sorted and allocated for sale. Space management, problem solving, furniture assembly and heavy lifting form just part of the daily saleroom activities for most of the team, in particular saleroom supervisor Alun, and auctioneer Ryan. A single piece of furniture may require moving in excess of ten times before its takes it final place as an auction lot.

Saleroom management and logistics…

When a sale is laid out, the auctioneer begins the long process of cataloguing each lot individually. All lots for both general and fine sales are photographed, with the average number of photographs taken for a Fine Sale Online Catalogue coming in at around 5000. Our ever diligent Photographer must then edit, resize, and rename all photos prior to online upload.The sale cataloguing  information is sent to the office for inputting, where staff also produce a sale catalogue, as well as letters and emails for to up to 200 vendors, and marketing materials for publication and online platforms. In the lead up to an auction the office will process and respond to several hundred requests for condition reports, which are then personally carried out by the auctioneer. It is not unusual during this period for staff to handle in excess of 100 telephone calls and queries per day. 

Saleroom set up to transformation

Meanwhile in the saleroom, hundreds of pieces of furniture are moved and laid out, and hundreds of lot labels are produced and applied to each individual lot, from furniture through to paintings and jewellery. The Photographer oversees the final room aesthetic, and in house catalogues are marked up with the exact location of every lot in the saleroom. All hands are then on deck in house for the less than glamorous last minute hoovering, cleaning and polishing duties!

Sale Viewing

On viewing and auction days our team is joined by our intrepid viewing staff, who oversee the hundreds of visitors to the auction room, braving our summertime heat and wintertime arctic temperatures, handling customer queries, running sale day telephone bidding and assisting hundreds of successful buyers with the collection of their goods.

Auction day

On auction day the auctioneer co-ordinates room bidding, online bidding and telephone bidding at once, usually running from the start of the auction up until 800 or 900 lots without a break. Our auctions have appeared many times on the BBC’s Flog It, and also on Antiques Road Trip. In the sale office, staff (and on occasion junior members) deal with hundreds of registrations, absentee bids, payments by cash and by card and the production of several hundred invoices, whilst also overseeing the management of online bidders and numerous customer queries. 

And on we go…

Following the frantic pace of the auction, hundreds of invoices are sent out by post and email, and payments for lots start to come in by bank transfer. In the couple of days following the sale, staff carefully sort all the sale lots in preparation for the busy traffic of customer collections.

And simulaneously….the warehouse doors open, and the whole process begins again…

Always busy, always different, and certainly never dull; throughout the year our small team welcomes help from all the family….and of course, from our very hardworking house mascot, and chief rug tester, Rita The Rottie…

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