The UK art and antiques trade is hastening its efforts to provide a sense of business as usual during unusual times.
Today British Bespoke Auctions held its 330 lot Antiques, Jewellery and Collectables sale from the office of auctioneer Nicholas Granger.
Mascot Bella the Parrot presided over the auction with Granger on the rostrum for the 4 and a half hour performance that took place while the saleroom was closed.
Hosted live online-only on thesaleroom.com, it was operated remotely in order to respect the government’s social distancing guidelines with commission and telephone bids also permitted.
Among the lots sold to online buyers was a late 19th century hand painted Copeland vase with an estimate of £50-60 which was hammered down at £55 and a Royal Worcester Highland bull, modelled by Doris Lindner in 1977, which was estimated at £140-180 and hammered down at £170 (plus 24% buyer's premium incl VAT.)
A highlight of the sale was a Cartier Tank Francaise Quartz Chronoflex Stainless Steel gentleman's wristwatch which was consigned in a box of 40 watches. It was estimated at £500-600 and was hammered down at £1100.
Granger said there was a 50% increase in new bidders registered to the sale and bids came from the internet, phones and commission bids.
He added: “We have adhered to the latest government guidelines. This sale exceeded expectations and under these difficult constraints people have been very supportive.”
British Bespoke, which covers the Cotswolds with agents in Oxford and Henley, was set up by Granger (a former Savile Row tailor) ten years ago. He was able to run the auction from the firm’s office and kept his saleroom closed which is being used for storage. His family works at the firm with wife Sheena doing research, son Daniel as photographer and Daniel’s girlfriend on packing and delivery.
Granger said: “I love playing to the internet. It is nice to mention all the countries online such as bidders from Canada in our recent sale.”
The firm is planning its next sale on May 6 which will also be online-only (with commission bids and phone lines). Consignments are being accepted by post and delivery.