Horde of treasures backed-up for special two-day auction house sale
Drawing bidders from throughout the UK and abroad for its regular monthly event, Wotton-under-Edge’s Auction Rooms may seem a quaint memory to antique dealers - but its gavel is primed for future trade.
Having furloughed staff, managing director Philip Taubenheim had to rub out a series of pencilled dates to resume trading, though he's optimistic that it’s finally all systems go for a two-day event on June 15 and 16th.
“April would have been a cracking month at the salerooms,” said Mr Taubenheim. “We had good entries awaiting cataloguing, the first designated garden ornament sale building nicely, certainly encouraged by the run of remarkably good weather. But as it is, our doors stayed locked against this invisible enemy.”
Despite the ongoing uncertainty, Mr Taubenheim said the next sale should be a bumper event.
“We have 1,400 lots ready to go; it's online for viewing and has been for weeks, with buyers new to the rooms registering to bid. I expect a very strong trade, with very little having been available over the past few weeks,” he said.
Much of that pent-up demand is likely to focus on gold and jewellery: “Prices have been rising strongly, while collectors have found nothing available to enhance their collections.
“Meanwhile antique and vintage house and garden furnishings have been in short supply and, with lots lined up for future sales, the times ahead are looking bright.”
As so many are now saying though, it’s unlikely that, post-Covid-19, our economic habits will return to “normal”.
So, what might be the shape of antiques and collectibles as a trading entity?
"With about 50 per cent already being sold online, I see this figure as likely to increase significantly. Buyers will not be the issue, and with plans to reconfigure the way in which items are displayed in the saleroom to comply with new guidelines, we should be able to manage the new era with confidence.”
But how has Mr Taubenheim, who appears as a regular expert with BBC1’s Antiques Roadshow, found the impact of the disease on his own life?
"I found the first week or so difficult. Dropping working hours from some 60 to 20 hours a week has turned out to be easier than I'd have believed, but I miss the comradeship, not only of those working alongside me at the Auction Rooms, but of the other traders.
"The lockdown flew in the face of everything I had ever known in business. However, I've embraced this period as the holiday I would never be able to enjoy during my working life.
“What I ultimately miss is everyone who make this little Gloucestershire town such a special place in which to live or work.
“Many who visit our Auction Rooms every month, often having travelled considerable distances, are both complimentary and envious of us and everyone associated with this small and ancient town, clinging to the edge of the Cotswold Hills.”
Online registration for the next auction can be made at www.the-saleroom.com.
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