The auction process is a key part of the secondary art and antiques market.

Firms of auctioneers usually specialise in a number of fields such as jewellery, ceramics, paintings, Asian art or coins but many also hold general sales where the goods available are not defined by a particular genre and are usually lower in value.

Auctioneers often provide other services such as probate and insurance valuations.

Sotheby’s give up trying to sell Taubman stake

24 February 2003

SOTHEBY’S have announced that they have given up trying to find a buyer for the controlling stake of disgraced former chairman A. Alfred Taubman.

Overseas buyers make curate’s egg taste better…

20 February 2003

IF THERE is one objet d’art that best characterises the antiques market at present it is the curate’s egg – good in parts, but bad overall. The flawed ovum’s brighter regions encompass most low-value collectables – ceramics included.

Success when private price is right

20 February 2003

PRIVATE pictures with reasonable estimates proved a recipe for success at Bonhams (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) on February 3 where 75 of the 101 lots found buyers at the £823,130 sale.

Tennants strike a deal with Heathcote Ball

17 February 2003

FOLLOWING the tragic death of John Ball in an accident last year, the future of his auction firm Heathcote Ball has been secured in a deal with Tennants.

More Sotheby’s job cuts likely

17 February 2003

SOTHEBY’S have started a new staff review and admit that further redundancies are likely.

Market-fresh, untouched and realistically priced, these are the buyer’s…

12 February 2003

The first furniture sale of the year at Sotheby’s Olympia (20/12% buyer’s premium) was a 272-lot gathering on January 14 which saw two-thirds of the contents change hands.

Victorian library steps sell for £1,800

12 February 2003

To date this year Bonhams (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) have held five sales of furniture and carpets. These weekly sales are making a return to their Knightsbridge rooms for the first time in around 20 years after a recent peripatetic period of moving from Chelsea – their long time abode – to Bayswater and briefly back to Chelsea again.

Noteworthy charity bash

12 February 2003

The Bank of England Museum was the host and Spink were the auctioneers on Friday, January 24 at one of the most unusual sales seen in London. It was a sale of special number Bank of England notes sold to bolster the funds of the Commonwealth Education Fund.

Rarity outpaces condition as the horses by Beswick ride again

12 February 2003

BESWICK is one of the strongest areas of the 20th century collectable ceramics market so it was not surprising to see trade and private collectors packing these Leicestershire rooms at Gildings to bid on a large single-owner collection from a local deceased estate. What was surprising were the lengths to which bidders would go.

Time on tick, French style

12 February 2003

TIME waits for no man, the saying goes, and clients of Abraham-Louis Bréguet were certainly reminded of this fact when paying their monthly instalments to the Swiss-born watchmaker for Souscription pocket watches like this example right which featured at Woolley & Wallis’s sale on January 29.

Contemporary art surges ahead as Impressionists and Moderns falter

10 February 2003

It was a definite case of first the bad news, then the good news at the February round of Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary sales in London. While Impressionist and Modern works failed to sparkle, there was a significant surge in interest for the Contemporary.

Lears saved

10 February 2003

CHRISTIE’S have negotiated the sale of a major collection of watercolours of Greece by Edward Lear to the nation in lieu of tax. The 32 pictures come from the estate of the late Sir Steven Runciman and are expected to go the National Galleries of Scotland.

Sotheby’s end separate sales on the Web

10 February 2003

Sotheby’s have dramatically scaled back their ambitious but costly Internet operation, announcing an end to all separate online auctions by early May.

Silver with a Magic touch

05 February 2003

Twenty one lots in Bonhams’ marine sale on January 22 came from the collection of the late John Foster, celebrated yachtsman and yachting enthusiast. The bulk of these were paintings but there were also three non-pictorial entries: a pair of carved wooden Prince of Wales feathers from Edward VII’s yacht Osborne, which fetched £1100, and the two silver racing trophies pictured here, which represented significant mementoes of racing history from both sides of the Atlantic.

The writer’s friend

05 February 2003

It’s QUESTIONABLE how much influence a piece of furniture could have upon the writer using it, but certainly when the writer in question is Graham Greene, a writer of that fame can certainly influence the fate of a piece of furniture.

Bonhams will undercut rivals in battle for London market: No vendors’ commission in Bond St on lots over £70,000.

04 February 2003

AS Christie’s and Bonhams followed Sotheby’s in announcing new commission structures last week, Bonhams emerged with the most attractive terms for buyers and added a new incentive for sellers at their Bond Street rooms.

Arnault is bought out of Phillips by de Pury & Co

03 February 2003

Luxury goods magnate Bernard Arnault finally abandoned his attempt to compete with Christie’s and Sotheby’s at the top end of the art market last week when he sold his remaining 27.5 per cent stake in troubled auction house Phillips to its joint chief executives Simon de Pury and Daniella Luxembourg.

Views do well while other works tick over

29 January 2003

There was little in the three series of 19th century sales held by Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Finarte-Semenzato in December to get excited about.

Severini’s last oil painting sold in Rome

29 January 2003

Gino Severini’s Les objets deviennent peinture (vase bleu et maïs) was one of the most significant lots in Christie’s 310-lot auction of Contemporary art in Rome on December 18. Dating from 1965, this picture was the last oil still life he was to paint and, indeed, one of the last works to be finished before his death.

Pewter feels the decorative effect

28 January 2003

LARGE quantities of antique pewter are rarely seen at auction these days but even so, the supply of ordinary material is hardly met with rampant demand. As such, prices were kept down for the majority of the 122 pewter lots that Bonhams had impressively gathered for their Chester sale on 17 January.