The auction process is a key part of the secondary art and antiques market.

Firms of auctioneers usually specialise in a number of fields such as jewellery, ceramics, paintings, Asian art or coins but many also hold general sales where the goods available are not defined by a particular genre and are usually lower in value.

Auctioneers often provide other services such as probate and insurance valuations.

£4200 picture of contentment

26 August 2003

The strong collecting base for miniatures has cushioned this market from the wider economic vagaries that have affected other more trade-dependent fields such as furniture and silver. Bonhams Bond Street (19.5/10% buyer’s premium) specialist Emma Rutherford reckoned around 80 per cent of entries sold privately in their 193-lot routine miniature and silhouettes sale back on July 1. “Our buyers tend to be retired and tend to have their money readily accessible,” she said.

Premium paid for walnut bureau is far from miniature

26 August 2003

There is always a premium placed upon unrestored Georgian walnut. There is equally a premium to be paid for miniature pieces. Combine the two and it explains the level of competition achieved for this 18th century miniature bureau at Woolley & Wallis’s July 15 furniture sale.

Fabergé name retains all the old magic, as table clock price shows

26 August 2003

Twice a year Russian silver and icons are included in Christie’s South Kensington’s (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) routine miniature and vertu sales and it was the 44-lot Russian silver section that saw some of the most consistent bidding in this 587-lot July 15 outing.

Currency error delays collusion compensation

26 August 2003

A BASIC clerical error seems certain to delay compensation payments linked to the Sotheby’s/Christie’s price fixing settlement, it has emerged. At least in some cases, the figures quoted in forms sent out notifying claimants of their entitlements have been transcribed in dollars rather than in sterling.

Buckling under limited demand

26 August 2003

Buckles come in all shapes, sizes and materials and are small, decorative and cheap. The earliest examples date to medieval times and their rise and fall in fashion mirrors movements in social history. Buckles come in all shapes, sizes and materials and are small, decorative and cheap. The earliest examples date to medieval times and their rise and fall in fashion mirrors movements in social history.

Goodmans join Bonhams to spearhead Australian expansion

26 August 2003

SYDNEY-based auction house Goodmans have joined the growing Bonhams empire in a bid to dominate the Australian auction scene. Bonhams & Goodman, to be run by Goodmans managing director Tim Goodman, will look to source goods from all over Australasia in direct competition with Sotheby’s and Christie’s.

Bonhams expects...

26 August 2003

THE success of Christie`s marines sale in New York will no doubt be heartening news for Bonhams (19.5/10% buyer’s premium) who have been holding specialist marine picture sales for the last 20 years and whose latest offering, the second so far this year, is due to be held at their Bond Street rooms on September 16.

Forget Friends Reunited… here’s Phillips Reunited!

26 August 2003

THE mighty Phillips auction house may no longer be around, but former employees are still thriving. Now some of them have decided that they would like to catch up with ex-colleagues and have formed Phillips Reunited to do just that.

VC boosts total to £1m

20 August 2003

Well, it’s happened at last! The first £1million sale of campaign medals and awards (ODM) has taken place. It took Dix Noonan Webb (15% buyer’s premium) 1155 lots to disperse this assemblage. The total was £1,013,510 and this is the hammer total so there was no fudging with the buyer’s premium to jack the total over the magic number.

Magnificent men hope their flying machines will take off as a sale theme

20 August 2003

The Collection of Louis Vivien, a Paris bookseller who opened his shop in Rue des Ecoles in 1905, swiftly specialising in the aeronautical world after attending the inaugural Salon Aéronautique of 1908, provided Tajan (20.33% buyer’s premium) with yet another new sale theme – Aviation – on June 21.

The Hobbit reaches £40,000 at Sotheby's.

20 August 2003

Last summer Sotheby’s took a bid of £36,000 on a copy of the 1937 first edition of The Hobbit inscribed in October of that year to Tolkien’s Aunt Jane; this summer they raised £40,000 for a copy that he had inscribed at the time of publication.

The course gets tougher

19 August 2003

CLUBS: A ROCKY ride perhaps, but Lyon & Turnbull certainly had the best selection of clubs this year and the one real ace to give the market a fillip – a long-nose baffing spoon by George Daniel Brown of Blackheath and St Andrews, c.1850-60.

Door alters perception of Huntley & Palmers van

19 August 2003

A biscuit box is probably not every young child’s idea of an exciting toy, but to collectors of tins, advertising and tinplate, the Huntley & Palmers Tribeck lorry tin, 1937, 83/4in (22cm), in Bonhams Knightsbridge’s (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) trains, toys and diecast sale on July 15 was the most coveted entry.

Trade prove themselves wide awake to Asian sleepers

19 August 2003

Hawk-eyed dealers scouring the London rooms in July for Asian sleepers would have been rewarded by a trip to Christie’s South Kensington’s (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) Asian Decorative Arts 586-lot sale on July 10.

Star Wars figures make £8720 at Vectis

19 August 2003

Working in a newsagent’s shop in Flint, Wales, a generous grandmother decided to buy her grandson a complete set of the five-inch tall Star Wars figures when they originally came onto the market in 1977. She bought one complete set for her grandson to play with but kept a second set back in case any of the figures became lost, hiding the toys away in a cupboard where they remained for more than 25 years.

Golden pheasants weigh their worth

19 August 2003

Furniture can usually be relied upon to be the biggest money spinner at provincial auctions but some good quality consignments of reasonably estimated and fresh-to-the-market ceramics furnished this tri-annual fine sale at Bearne's on 1-2 July with some of its most interesting and most commercial entries.

£4800 pocket globes top specialist bids

19 August 2003

SPECIALIST items took three of the top-selling lots at this George Kidner Hampshire sale on 9 July. One was a 1731 pocket globe by Richard Cushee, a land surveyor, map and globe maker known to have been apprenticed to John Sellers Sr, a leading figure in the London map trade at the time.

Christie’s reveal performance of salerooms and departments

18 August 2003

Christie’s have announced worldwide sales totalling £589m ($947m) for the first six months of 2003, again laying claim to the title of the world’s leading auction house. This compares with a dollar total for the same period last year of $989m, a fall of just over four per cent. Of this, auction sales make up £549m ($883m) and private sales £40m ($64m).

Is rediscovered Russolo a speculative sleeper?

12 August 2003

Dealers are always complaining that, thanks to the Internet and the trade Press, there are no sleepers any more. But a seriously interesting group of pictures appears to have slipped through the trawl nets of specialist London dealers, leaving a local West Country trader with what may turn out to be a canny buy.

Cupboard love

12 August 2003

Given that they were sold in such massive quantities, Beatles singles remain relatively common and few command more than £10-20 each – unless of course they have a more personal connection with the Fab Four.