They all reiterate the importance of giving the buyer confidence in what they are purchasing.

Stephen Jepson, national auction manager at Sanderson Weatherall, said: “We have done online-only auctions for the past six-eight years. It is all about photos – a picture tells a thousand words. For a 70-lot sale we will take 700 photos. Video is also important.”

In this sector auctions are still being held, using platforms such as i-bidder and BidSpotter (both owned by the ATG’s parent company Auction Technology Group), that are compliant with the new government social-distancing guidelines.

Systems in place include allowing consignors themselves to upload images and video about their items (that remain with the vendor until after the auction) and allowing the consignor to arrange pick-up/ delivery or agree to store items until government restrictions relax.

Robin Gray, managing director at William George, said: “It’s about giving confidence to buyers. We give people f lexibi l ity and reassurance and allow items to be stored free of charge. Some consignors want to hold off but many still want to go ahead. Traffic to websites is still very good so we want to carry on holding sales.”

Gray added: “There are tools out there to operate in this new world. There is adaption to be made and businesses will need to think about what works best (for example a focus on smaller items) but the key is to make it as easy as possible for the buyer.”

Classic car specialist H&H is conducting ‘virtual visits’ using video calling to assess potential consignments and has put in place a strict ‘no-contact’ protocol for those clients who still wish them to inspect and photograph their vehicles first hand. The visiting specialist will be wearing appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) and can view the vehicle while the client remains indoors. Discussions take place via phone.

The firm was working closely with its preferred vehicle transport provider EM Rogers & Chas Mortimer to provide no-contact delivery.