As the country heads out along the cautious road from lockdown, how will things change? Will the general public retain the habit of face masks or not? How crowded will pubs, restaurants cinemas and shops become? Will the older generation start to lower their guard? And what of our business lives?
Some firms are desperate to return to as normal a nine-to-five routine as they can as soon as possible, while others, freed from the shackles of London business rates and soaring rents, have found a new lease of life.
In the auction world, the biggest change has been the acceleration of online bidding, which is now the norm rather than the occasional feature of sales. People still come to the saleroom, for consigning, viewing and bidding, but while it remains the hub of activity for all we do, the world in which we operate is now largely in the ether.
Does this matter? Perhaps to a degree; it is difficult to see how we will again witness the buzz that electrified the saleroom when packed with bidders – the febrile atmosphere often contributed to rising competition.
In the end, though, auctions are all about getting the best price for the consignor while also making sure that those who bid have the chance to acquire something that they simply wouldn’t find elsewhere.
At the heart of a good auction house is knowledge, expertise and a clear understanding of excellent customer service. Focus on those, and the rest will follow regardless of the changes wrought by technology.