Gavin Strang of Lyon and Turnbull
Lyon & Turnbull managing director Gavin Strang who conducted the marathon auction of decorative arts with almost 1400 bidders registering online for the sale.

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Alone in the saleroom, managing director Gavin Strang stood for 12 hours on the rostrum, fielding bids via video-conferencing software from three online platforms and phones operated by staff from home.

Payments are being handled by the finance team working at home, while the firm is working with its local branch of Mail Boxes Etc to bespoke a ‘no contact’ delivery service for the relatively small number of buyers reluctant to wait until restrictions on ‘non-essential’ journeys are lifted.

Almost 1400 bidders registered online, with around 500 online absentee and 700 commission bids left before the sale. The selling rate across around 600 lots was 83% – above the norm for this sale category.

The £570,000 sale was led by the £28,000 bid for a 19in (48cm) bronze reduction of the New Sculpture classic, Sir George Frampton’s Peter Pan dated 1911.

"It was certainly the longest time I have ever spent on the rostrum, but I’m not complaining” said Strang. “If there hadn’t been so much bidding, I might have been finished in half the time.

“I’m glad we were able to trade in a way which allowed all our staff and customers to safely stay at home.”

The firm plans to repeat the formula for three more sales in disciplines it believes are also well-suited to ecommerce: Contemporary & Post-War Art (April 16), African & Oceanic Art, Antiquities and Natural History (May 5) and Fine Asian & Islamic Works of Art (May 13).