Operating 45 miles north-west of the company’s main office in Birmingham, Whittaker knocked down the gavel with twin daughters Alexandra and Nicola running the bidding platforms and Jayne Whittaker (formerly Jayne Fellows) clerking.
The jewellery auction yesterday (March 26) was broadcast online, including on thesaleroom.com, and the number of people signing up to bid ran into the many hundreds. With over 700 lots, it lasted seven hours with only one 15-minute break and raised a hammer total of £210,000. The total was greater than Fellows’ February Jewellery auction.
It was the third auction Fellows has held in recent weeks and the firm said that the reaction from clients showed that the appetite among buyers for jewellery remains high.
While jewellery has become a strong market for online bidding over last five years, the auction house nevertheless had to adapt its use of technology for this sale and worked hard to ensure that all government guidelines were observed.
With the company having to close its doors and work remotely, staff from the firm assisted from their own homes by managing commission bids which were still being placed on the day, operated telephone bidding and promoting the auction on social media channels.
The entire auction though had previously been available to view at Fellows’ London office before the government introduced the lockdown measures.
“Today was a first for Fellows Auctioneers in that we held a jewellery auction from home,” said Stephen Whittaker. “This was just the second time in our history that we have held an auction away from our saleroom. The first was an estate sale over 30 years ago. Luckily for us, we have significantly embraced the use of technology in the intervening years.
“It’s delightful that people seem to be taking advantage of a welcome distraction to what is happening in the world by bidding on our auctions from the comfort of their own homes.”
Fellows will offer more lots in these live-online sales but also has timed auctions of jewellery and watches currently online.