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A dealer or a shop has to buy in stock and could be left with it for months before it sells, or in some cases sell at a loss to continue with their business.

An auction house is given stock with little or no cost and disposes everything on auction day. They charge the vendor with not only a commission but in some cases, lotting fees, insurance and even photography costs.

Now as a purchaser I have to make an appointment to view, if only part-time staff are in attendance then they may have little knowledge of items they are showing and then there are no printed catalogues any more. I also have to make payment over the internet (not easy for an elderly computer illiterate), make another appointment to collect and in some cases credit cards are not accepted.

I have to ask, why are we still paying these high commission fees when the service provided is so curtailed?

Unfortunately my conclusion is that greed is coming in to play and it seems, from information through your excellent journal, that this trend is set to continue.

David Southwell

ATG replies: An article in ATG No 2523 noted the initiatives undertaken at a number of regional auction houses over the past two years such as: more photos per lot with greater effort made on presentation; extended lot descriptions with more firms including condition reports as standard; setting up in-house packing and delivery services; an increase in the total number of sales held; hiring more staff; greater promotion of lots and sales via digital and social media etc.