“Fortune favours the brave,” said Nic McElhatton as he departed the CSK rostrum for the last time on July 19. He might well have been talking about Roseberys, the south London auction house with big ambitions for its mid-market offering.
The firm is vying with Chiswick Auctions, among others, to redirect CSK mid-market business its way.
To boost its credentials in jewellery and watches, and decorative arts overall, Roseberys has hired McElhatton as a consultant and two former senior CSK specialists, Mark Bowis and Fiona Baker, on permanent contracts.
“All are highly regarded, seasoned performers,” said Ian Cadzow, founder and managing director.
Roseberys intends to continue down the specialisation track, “finding gaps in markets and filling them,” said Vicki Wonfor, the firm’s business development director.
There are high hopes for jewellery and watches in particular, with Bowis hosting his first auction in December. A 26-year CSK veteran, He specialises in antique jewellery but has experience in sourcing from emerging jewellery designers too.
Initially, however, Bowis will start by looking to attract lots of £200 upwards. “Our main mission is to see us established in this area, slowly and steadily,” said Wonfor, who acknowledges Fellows and Woolley & Wallis as among the leaders in this area. “They’re the ones we look to for inspiration.”
“Nic, Mark and Fiona are highly regarded, seasoned performers" - Ian Cadzow, Roseberys
“Our main mission in jewellery is to establish ourselves in this area, slowly and steadily" - Vicki Wonfor, Roseberys
In decorative arts, Roseberys has added firepower in Baker and McElhatton, with a plan to boost the volume of 20th century sales.
The detail of McElhatton’s role will be finalised when he starts in October. “There’s a lot I can bring to Roseberys, especially in decorative arts and streamlining categories of sales,” he said.
The firm is casting its net wider regionally, too. It has hired Alex Tomkinson, a modern design specialist based in south-west England, as a consultant to encourage consignments.
As Roseberys awaits its new hires, plans are for more marketing in specialist publications. It is accommodating any increase in business by adapting its Knight’s Hill premises for more storage space.
In 2015 the firm, majority owned by Cadzow, invested a six-figure sum revamping the Victorian former chocolate factory, adding a new gallery.
Having spent big on bricks and mortar, Roseberys is now betting big on people, with the hope that new business will follow.