The change to the established hierarchy in ATG’s annual regional auctioneer survey – Woolley & Wallis has fallen from the top spot it has held for a decade – came in a year of largely solid trading for Britain and Ireland’s top regional fine art auctioneers.
Fellows operates mainly in the jewellery and watches field – an area of continued market strength. It has shown considerable growth since the turn of the decade, turning over £13.5m in 2015 and £17.6m in 2016.
The firm’s January to December 2017 total was aided by the £1.1m* from a single lot – the ‘Fancy Intense’ yellow diamond Graff ring sold in December and the year’s top price achieved by a regional auctioneer – and growth in prices for vintage branded wristwatches.
“Overall we sold 74% [of lots] by volume and 81% by value. Watch sales, however, are more like 90% and 90%,” says managing director Stephen Whittaker (see interview, page 16). The headline figure included £10.8m sales of jewellery and £4.4m from watches.
Woolley & Wallis’ hammer turnover for 2017 was £15.7m. Although the top lot for the Salisbury firm’s year was – in the context of previous years – a relatively modest £130,000* (a Yongzheng archaistic vase), the firm told ATG six departments achieved sales of over £1m.
Hammer sales at Tennants in Leyburn reached £12.3m, an increase of around £400,000 on 2016, putting it in third place among the seven regional auctioneers that provided ATG with 2017 hammer totals.
*plus buyer’s premium