COLUMN: Elizabeth Talbot of TW Gaze - Several inches of snow failed to deter the Dunkirk spirit
I enjoy this seasonal weather, but one might expect my auctioneering observations to reflect a negative impact on the new year’s sales as a result.
Unusual behaviour within the auction industry is expected, especially as many auction houses have seasonal gaps within their sales calendar several times a year, especially during the festive season,apparently to allow for a supposedly hibernating market, certainly a well founded approach. When I began my career in the mid-80s dealers and collectors all seemed to go away for the whole of August and appeared to enjoy extortionately lengthy winter indulgences. However several factors have changed in the intervening years, not least the speed and ease of information-gathering, allowing catalogued lots to be marketed in any weather and to any destination.
An evolutionary aspect of auctions in Diss is that the bidders who compete each week are an eclectic mix of people.
The new year began at Diss Auction Rooms with our normal Friday mix on January 4, followed by Vintage Interiors and Textiles on Saturday 5. Commercial buyers and sellers of antiques and collectables are constantly searching for stock, the sales have been well endowed and boosted by house clearance. When snow is forecast, the instinct is to worry that buyers will be deterred and the auction will be, at best, hard work or indeed, a non-event. In truth, I have never known an auction live up to this classic auctioneer’s nightmare
The worst of the wintry weather caught our weekly auction on Friday 18 and the first of this year’s Rural and Domestic Bygones sales on January 19. Under difficult conditions the Dunkirk spirit takes hold, just when the expectation is for people to stay away, they descend on the Auction Rooms as though they are the only ones to have the courage to venture out and with a hope that bargains will be theirs for the taking. In actual fact, attendance numbers are usually little affected, but in order to justify their efforts, bidders are purposeful and determined, resulting in some very healthy hammer prices and contented vendors.
Elizabeth is Partner and Co-owner of TW Gaze, Valuer & Auctioneer at Diss Auction Rooms, and renowned BBC antiques expert.
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Weather for Diss
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 8 C
Wind Speed: 21 mph
Wind direction: South
Temperature: 6 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North