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.

The East fulfils its promise in the West

15 July 2003

The resurgence of interest from Asian buyers in quality transitional blue and white sleeve vases was seen at Sotheby’s (22% buyer’s premium) in Amsterdam, when this finely painted example, right, illustrating boys presenting gifts to a number of scholars, topped the 243-lot Asian sale on May 21.

Halls change in bid to woo private buyers

14 July 2003

Halls Fine Art of Shrewsbury are to change their regular antiques sales from a Friday to a Wednesday from September. The firm’s Welsh Bridge salerooms will open for a pre-sale public viewing on Saturday mornings for its fine art and antiques sales in a bid to attract a wider public audience.

Back among provincial beauties...

09 July 2003

Victorian painter Sophie Anderson (1823-1903), who specialised in heart-warming female figure studies, appears rather infrequently on the market, but a Hampshire religious institution furnished the Lewes branch of Gorringe’s (15% buyer’s premium) with two good quality, signed half-length female subjects in untouched condition for their June 12 picture sale.

Really Smart Cars

09 July 2003

A Rolls-Royce & Bentley sale held by Bonhams at Towcester Racecourse on June 21 included a number of sales brochures, catalogues, handbooks, manuals, etc. amongst the automobilia.

I Spy a great opportunity

09 July 2003

THE Graham Rickett Collection of rowing ephemera offers a unique opportunity for collectors when it comes up for sale as part of Bonhams’ annual sale of traditional rivercraft and marine ephemera on Saturday, July 19 at the Boat Tents, near Leander Club, Henley-on-Thames.

Digby items spark dealers’ duel

09 July 2003

Totalling £533,120, the Wingfield Digby collection of Chinese and Japanese porcelain offered at Sotheby’s Olympia (20/12% buyer’s premium) on June 12 may not have been the highest grossing sale of the London Asian series but it fielded the fewest casualties and was full of the type of fresh-to-the-market provenanced material at low estimates which the trade crave.

Timely sale splits seconds

09 July 2003

Many in the art world will know of Professor E. T. ‘Teddy’ Hall through his work in archaeometry, the science used to establish the age and origins of much of the world’s ancient art and artefacts, using tests such as thermoluminescence.

After sales keep Export market active

09 July 2003

Sotheby’s and Bonhams routinely include sections of Export porcelain in their general Chinese sales but Christie’s specialist Caroline Allen devotes her time solely to this field and it is an area she is keen to develop. To this end, Christie’s</b? (19.5/12% buyer’s premium) gave her the go-ahead to present a single-owner collection of European-subject Export porcelain in an individual catalogue even though it was never going to be a big money-spinning, seven-figure collection.

Imperial status helps moonflask to take off

09 July 2003

THERE was a greater concentration of Chinese Export porcelain at Christie’s King Street (19.5/12% buyer’s premium) than at either of the other two houses with a single- owner collection of European-subject Export ware offered in a separate catalogue on June 17 and a private collection of famille verte porcelain in mixed condition that was 99 per cent sold by lot and by value, included in their mixed-owner sale on the same day.

Dandy, Mandy and other Thrillers

09 July 2003

A FEW of the highlights of the June 10 sale held by Comic Book Postal Auctions are illustrated in the accompanying caption stories – along with one of the two Dandy annuals sold a couple of weeks later in Swindon – and as ever, Malcolm Phillips has provided me with some informed observations on prices, market movements and much else besides.

Sheraton pair soars to £16,000

30 June 2003

Originally belonging to the Dean family of Fareham House, Hampshire, this pair of Sheraton period mahogany folding card tables, right, was offered at the Cotswold Auction Company (15% buyer’s premium) on June 10.

£900,000... Sweet Charity begins at dealer’s home

30 June 2003

Netherhampton House, a wonderful Queen Anne home in Salisbury, was the venue for Duke’s English Country House sale on 16 June. Rented from the Pembroke estate since 1990 by dealer and collector John Parnaby, the elegant stone property operated as both a home and a showroom for Mr Parnaby’s business, Victor Mahy Antiques, specialists in 17th and 18th century furniture and works of art.

Christie’s look for growth in middle market

30 June 2003

Even as the million-pound Impressionist and Modern pictures were being knocked down in their King Street saleroom last week, Christie’s were reconfirming their commitment to the currently troubled middle market sector.

Wormington: Rowley’s legacy for sale

30 June 2003

On July 21 and 22, Sotheby’s will be holding a house contents sale at Wormington Manor near Broadway. This was the Worcestershire home of interior decorator, Christopher Rowley whose shop in Lower Sloane Street, Belgravia was a familiar meeting point for his large circle of friends and clients until his death in April this year.

A sculptural speciality

30 June 2003

Apart from their specialist commemorative medal sale, Morton & Eden (15% buyer’s premium) busied themselves with a general 1025-lot sale on May 21 which made a total of £592,877. This fine result was coupled with a reasonably small failure rate of just 12 per cent. This is about the norm for more specialised events but hard to achieve in a general sale.

Pooh, Piglet and Toad the washerwoman

30 June 2003

A watercolour and drawings sale held by Bonhams on June 10 included a small group of E.H. Shepard illustrations from the estate of the late Jean Ames, who as Jean Gourlay had befriended the artist during the late 1930s and early 1940s, prior to his second marriage, and though the saleroom was non-committal on the matter, it is possible that these versions were specially made by Shepard for Miss Ames.

Morandi floral tribute goes to €450,000

27 June 2003

A bunch of flowers sold to a private buyer brought a welcome fragrance for Christie’s (24-18.5% buyer’s premium, excluding VAT) in their auction of Modern and Contemporary Art in Milan on May 26, and proved a powerful attraction, with a full room and numerous bidders on the telephone.

Heroes and gardens prove they are still to British tastes…

27 June 2003

IT’S not all Mod Brit, the modern art market in Britain – there are still buyers who want their heroes and their gardens and during May, Oxford auctioneers Mallams (15% buyer’s premium) were able to supply both markets, albeit at different price levels.

Master of Disguise

24 June 2003

Coming up in London: Hidden for over 300 years behind the work of a pupil, this image of one of the world’s most celebrated painters at the age of 28 has only recently emerged from beneath layers of overpaint. This newly discovered Rembrandt self-portrait promises to be the highlight of this summer’s auction season in London and will be offered for sale at Sotheby’s on July 10.

...and still to come

24 June 2003

One of the highlights of the English porcelain section of Sotheby’s Olympia’s ceramics sale on July 3 will be a group of pieces from the celebrated Duke of Gloucester Service produced by the Worcester factory c.1775. The service is said to have been made for William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh and Earl of Connaught (1743-1805), younger brother of George III.