Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

They will also have late night viewing on Monday evenings until 8 o’clock. The extended opening hours come as part of a package of changes aimed at keeping existing buyers and wooing new ones.

Sotheby’s new free parking applies to two car parks, one in Olympia Way, the other behind the exhibition centre, and will work on a voucher system. Visitors to the saleroom can exchange their car park tickets at the auctioneers’ reception for vouchers entitling them to two hours of free parking. The car parks will remain open on Monday evenings and maps showing their location will feature in the catalogues.

Any improvements to access will doubtless be welcome news for Sotheby’s existing clients given the difficulties of reaching Olympia by public transport.

The salerooms at Olympia have also introduced two new sale categories to their 2002 schedule, one devoted to single- owner collections, the other to themed sales. Both initiatives, which will be overseen by Kerry Taylor, are part of a bid to increase their client base by attracting new customers who have not bought at auction.

Paul Sumner, managing director of Sotheby’s Olympia, said they had identified three or four reasons why people start collecting. Expanding on this, he said that as well as liking to buy from collections with a history, they have “an interest in travel and other cultures, an interest in interior decoration and an interest in design across all historical periods”.

The single-owner collections will be a broad-based sale category depending on what is consigned but will present an opportunity to offer properties in the £300,000-500,000 bracket which it would not be profitable to sell at the auctioneers’ Bond Street rooms and will take place throughout the year.

The themed sales cover three areas of popular buying interest outlined above: Travel, Interior Decoration and Design. Their content will cross over traditional departmental barriers to cater for those interests and will be built around core collections.


Mr Sumner explained that a travel sale, for example, could include examples of Anglo-Indian artefacts or a collection of Islamic textiles, elements that might otherwise fall within the remit of a specialist Indian or Islamic auction, while the Design sale could feature Regency and Gothic furniture as well as modern pieces.

He was also hoping to cross-promote his themed sales with some of the trade shows taking place at Olympia. He underscored that such cross-promotion would not involve any of the antiques fairs but said he was keen to capitalise on the “one million people that come through the doors of Olympia each year”.

The first themed sale will be devoted to Design and will take place in late May or early June. Travel and Interior Decoration are to be scheduled for late October and early November.