Students have headed back to college, pupils to schools, but there are also a lot of new graduates and school leavers looking to their careers now. Should they consider becoming auctioneers?
Having started at the bottom and worked my up, I have no regrets. I still think the best way in is the traditional one: starting as a porter at one of the larger auction houses, graduating to cataloguing and developing specialist knowledge in your chosen field while studying for a fine arts valuation qualification. There aren’t many courses left around the country, but they are worth doing if this game is for you.
A lot of the auction business has already gone online and I have no doubt that more will in future. However, I also believe that there will always be brick-and-mortar salerooms for people to visit, view and handle the goods first, particularly at the top end of the market where prices run into the millions. We sell via both channels.
Greeting buyers and browsers face to face in the saleroom means we have the best of both worlds: the chance to deal with people and things. I suspect that has more appeal to most people than cutting out the live human element of the transactional process.
If the past couple of years have taught me anything, it is that the young are very resourceful, tackling the challenges of the pandemic in inspirational ways by harnessing the internet and social media. That tells me that many of them also have the talent to develop the next generation of the international art and antiques market as fresh ideas and ways of selling emerge in tandem with collecting fields.
Auctioneering as a career still holds a lot of promise and the chances of setting up your own business and working for yourself in the long term are greater than in most other industries. It’s something you might want to have a think about.