THE Arctic weather that struck the UK last week caused severe disruption during one of the busiest periods in the calendar for the art and antiques trade.
Staying open and ready for sales has tested the ingenuity and
determination of dealers and auctioneers across the country.
The regions that were worst hit - Scotland, Yorkshire,
Derbyshire and South East England - saw the cancellation and
rescheduling of numerous fairs and auctions.
Border Auctions, at Hawick on the Scottish
borders, had to postpone their Antiques & Collectables sale on
December 4, with the auction house reporting up to 14 inches of
snow in places. In Sheffield, fine art and antique auctioneers
AE Dowse & Son made the difficult call to
postpone their auction for the first time ever after the city
witnessed the heaviest snowfall since records began. Both sales
will now take place on December 11.
Despite the adverse conditions, other salerooms remained
determinedly open, with many auctions going ahead. Calde
Valley Auctioneers in West Yorkshire had to leave an
automated telephone message explaining that their weekend sale
would proceed, although no one could get in to attend the
telephones during the week.
In Glasgow, Great Western Auctions benefitted
from increased phone bids and commissions and were hoping for a
good attendance as the saleroom is close to main roads.
Thomson Roddick Scottish Auctions of Edinburgh had
a busy few days clearing snow before their double auction last
Thursday could take place. After the morning session, they said:
"The turnout was good and the sale was a great success, we had four
very busy phone lines and a record number of commissions."
Even areas without snow were affected by the intense cold. Welsh
auction house Roger Jones & Co of Colwyn Bay
reported to ATG that very low temperatures had forced them to use
more heaters in their saleroom. Unfortunately, during the 555-lot
auction the fuse tripped, causing a power failure. The auctioneers
opened a tab at the café across the road for those attending, while
they dealt with the problem, and were able to resume the sale an
hour or so later.
Readers planning to attend fairs and auctions are
advised to check that the events are going ahead as planned before
By Gabriel Berner
a list of fairs and auctions that have been cancelled or
rescheduled click here.