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.

Noteworthy charity bash

12 February 2003

The Bank of England Museum was the host and Spink were the auctioneers on Friday, January 24 at one of the most unusual sales seen in London. It was a sale of special number Bank of England notes sold to bolster the funds of the Commonwealth Education Fund.

Sotheby’s end separate sales on the Web

10 February 2003

Sotheby’s have dramatically scaled back their ambitious but costly Internet operation, announcing an end to all separate online auctions by early May.

Contemporary art surges ahead as Impressionists and Moderns falter

10 February 2003

It was a definite case of first the bad news, then the good news at the February round of Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary sales in London. While Impressionist and Modern works failed to sparkle, there was a significant surge in interest for the Contemporary.

Lears saved

10 February 2003

CHRISTIE’S have negotiated the sale of a major collection of watercolours of Greece by Edward Lear to the nation in lieu of tax. The 32 pictures come from the estate of the late Sir Steven Runciman and are expected to go the National Galleries of Scotland.

The writer’s friend

05 February 2003

It’s QUESTIONABLE how much influence a piece of furniture could have upon the writer using it, but certainly when the writer in question is Graham Greene, a writer of that fame can certainly influence the fate of a piece of furniture.

Silver with a Magic touch

05 February 2003

Twenty one lots in Bonhams’ marine sale on January 22 came from the collection of the late John Foster, celebrated yachtsman and yachting enthusiast. The bulk of these were paintings but there were also three non-pictorial entries: a pair of carved wooden Prince of Wales feathers from Edward VII’s yacht Osborne, which fetched £1100, and the two silver racing trophies pictured here, which represented significant mementoes of racing history from both sides of the Atlantic.

Bonhams will undercut rivals in battle for London market: No vendors’ commission in Bond St on lots over £70,000.

04 February 2003

AS Christie’s and Bonhams followed Sotheby’s in announcing new commission structures last week, Bonhams emerged with the most attractive terms for buyers and added a new incentive for sellers at their Bond Street rooms.

Arnault is bought out of Phillips by de Pury & Co

03 February 2003

Luxury goods magnate Bernard Arnault finally abandoned his attempt to compete with Christie’s and Sotheby’s at the top end of the art market last week when he sold his remaining 27.5 per cent stake in troubled auction house Phillips to its joint chief executives Simon de Pury and Daniella Luxembourg.

Severini’s last oil painting sold in Rome

29 January 2003

Gino Severini’s Les objets deviennent peinture (vase bleu et maïs) was one of the most significant lots in Christie’s 310-lot auction of Contemporary art in Rome on December 18. Dating from 1965, this picture was the last oil still life he was to paint and, indeed, one of the last works to be finished before his death.

Views do well while other works tick over

29 January 2003

There was little in the three series of 19th century sales held by Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Finarte-Semenzato in December to get excited about.

Bonhams total $304m in 2002

28 January 2003

JUST as Phillips announce their cutbacks, Bonhams have unveiled annual sales for 2002 of $304m. This announcement completes Bonhams’ first full year of trading after the November 2001 merger in which they combined with the UK interests of Phillips Son and Neale.

US dealer awakes a Suffolk sleeper

28 January 2003

Sleepers are something of an endangered species at UK picture sales, but this small 6 by 5in (15.5 x 12.5cm) oil on board still life, right, by the Danish/American painter Emil Carlsen (1853-1932) certainly made the room sit up when it sold to a US dealer on the telephone at £17,500 against an estimate of just £1000-1500 at the Atheneum Sale in Bury St. Edmunds held by Bonhams’ (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) on December 17.

Pewter feels the decorative effect

28 January 2003

LARGE quantities of antique pewter are rarely seen at auction these days but even so, the supply of ordinary material is hardly met with rampant demand. As such, prices were kept down for the majority of the 122 pewter lots that Bonhams had impressively gathered for their Chester sale on 17 January.

Did D’Amboise ever get to see Jean Froissart’s costly Chronicles

21 January 2003

FILLED with nearly 200 dazzling images of battles, knights, damsels in distress, tournaments, and castles that represent the finest work of the Rouen illuminators of the early Renaissance and captures all the pageantry and drama of the Hundred Years’ War, the extraordinarily fresh illuminated manuscript of Froissart’s Chronicles that sold for £2.75m at Sotheby’s on December 3 must have been the finest and most profusely illustrated manuscript of that famous work ever made.

Return to the nursery with Attwell’s easel

21 January 2003

The easel that was used to create some of the most celebrated nursery images of the 20th century will be going under the hammer later on this month.

Perryville revisited for bargains

21 January 2003

A 1467 second edition of the second part of Thomas Aquinas’ Summa theologiae, a massive treatise on moral rather than dogmatic theology that stands as an independent work, was one of the earlier printed highlights of a $4.69m (£2.97m) sale held by Sotheby’s New York on December 13, and once again it was one of a number of lots making a rapid return to the rooms.

Arts and Crafts lighten silver woes

20 January 2003

THE sad plight of silver is as well known as the boom in all Arts and Crafts pieces – what happens when the two come together was the question at Sworders’ sale when this pair of plated candlesticks, right, were offered.

An amateur’s gift was precious after all

20 January 2003

ON December 10 Cambridge auctioneers Cheffins (15% buyer’s premium) offered the residual contents from the home of amateur painter and gallery owner Olive Cook, whose early friendships with Henry Moore and Eric Ravilious helped hone her artistic eye.

Christie’s revamp decorative arts policy

20 January 2003

CHRISTIE’S have unveiled some major changes for their 20th century decorative arts policy in Europe. The auction house have closed their King Street department and are concentrating all their London activities in decorative arts at South Kensington. They also want to develop and raise the profile of this field in France with regular dedicated auctions in Paris under specialist Sonja Ganne.

The value of royalty in a £3100 box

20 January 2003

Despite the recent media interest in the routine sale of Royal gifts through household staff and approved dealers, the practice of flogging Crown chattels is nothing new. More official and intimate material of royal provenance has buoyed the market for decades, if not centuries.