Warwick & Warwick auctioneer Toby Cleave in ATG No 2565.

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This is a path trodden by several prominent auctioneers in the past including this writer.

Possibly in this age of specialisation this will be less so.

In my own case, following several years of weekly cattle auctions in Cornwall and Shropshire I took the gavel at general chattel sales and found this side of auctions more fulfilling.

Eventually this path led to an executive position at the then Phillips, London, where incidentally I also took stamp auctions and the then director of philately, David Boyd, insisted on a minimum sale rate of 200 lots an hour!

Moving on to be a senior auctioneer at Christie’s New York throughout the 1980s, my earliest experiences stood me in good stead when dealing with smart international dealers and large auction attendances.

I wish Toby every success in his chosen path.

It will be a satisfying career, exhausting at times with many memorable moments.

A small piece of advice to this fledgling auctioneer – ditch that ugly hammer and use a palm-held gavel, and keep it for your own personal use.

Brian Cole

Former director of auctions, Christie’s, New York