17/01/2022 Latest News, Antiques
2021 has once again thrown all sorts of stresses and problems at our little Auction House in the West. Through it all, however, we have managed to keep up the usual tempo of fortnightly auctions, after a stuttering interrupted start to the year. Once we got going the year turned into a blur of interesting and busy sales highlighted by some amazing and unusual consignments. Throughout this our staff worked very, very hard to keep things moving smoothly so that visitors to the saleroom would hardly realise the effort that goes in, such is the serene image we usually present!
As we rely so much more in recent years on publicising sales online the lead times for the auctions are shorter than when we were producing an expensive glossy catalogue. Whilst we had aspired to such smart publications and developed them over many years, such as to be very proud of the product, we do not miss the eye watering expense! This especially as our clients were less keen to buy them and most these days walk around the saleroom viewing the catalogue on their phones! We gave most away but these days we remind our buyers in other ways.
The pandemic has vindicated our incorporating live bidding all those years ago when we moved to our present premises and without this facility we would not have got through the last two years. That’s where the industry is these days such that even the number of buyers in the saleroom itself on auction days is very small. We hope that attendances will improve in person as we get through the Covid pandemic but I will say that, as long as the management remains in its current framework, we will always welcome buyers in person on the day, and hope to get back to when auction day was a social event. Quite a few provincial auction houses have already closed their doors on sale days, selling entirely online after in person viewing only. Not on the current MDs watch!
We are continually trying to stay up to date with new trends and incorporate fresh ideas as they are appropriate to us as a busy saleroom in west Wales. Covid has got in the way of some development as we have striven just to be able to keep going over the last 2 years and 2021 has thrown additional problems at the team at PF. However, things are starting to get back on track, and some new ideas are coming on stream this Spring. Particularly a new web site is being developed and this will include our own live bidding platform, “PFlive”, which will be FREE to use by our subscribers initially and probably into the future, if successful.
After missing sales early in the year we have maintained our calendar since and have had some really interesting and successful auctions across the board. Stock levels have been consistently very high with never a shortage of lots for the fortnightly sales at any stage. House visits and professional valuations have been in big demand and we have been continually stretched especially as staff levels have fluctuated for different reasons over the year. The team have all performed near miracles in keeping the ship sailing.
The three Fine sales have been quite notable, not least due to their huge variety of lots and some of the collections we have dispersed. In the Spring we were favoured with instructions to help disperse the Estate of the late Miss Margaret Bide. This remarkable lady developed and restored a beautiful water mill near Lampeter and had a large collection of textiles, many of which were Welsh. We were approached by Executors based in Sussex, where the lady was originally from, and then realised that Miss Bide was well known to the saleroom and that we had visited her and sold lots for her some years before. The Estate came full circle and the sale was a great success with many textile lots selling to collections and Institutions in Wales. Very gratifying.
As the New Year picks up pace we have already held one sale which out performed expectations and valuations and probates are coming in. Covid is still a problem and we have reverted to saleroom visits by appointment again but we are still very much open for business! One new instruction coming in already is a very large collection of Spode china from a home in West London. Watch this space!
Happy New Year, health and happiness to all with a little prosperity thrown in for good measure!
Nigel J. Hodson ASFAV
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