+44 (0)1428 653727 sales@johnnicholsons.com

You would have thought after all these years of antiques TV shows that just about everybody would be at ease with auctions, but we still get a few shy ones coming through the doors in Fernhurst. They’re clearly interested in the whole process, or they wouldn’t be there. If you’re one of them, have no fear, we don’t bite, and I’d be amazed if you couldn’t find anything to spark your interest.

My advice to anyone who hasn’t yet got to grips with auctions but would like to find out more is to come to a viewing before the sale. That way you can wander around and look at everything that’s on offer in a relaxed fashion. At viewings you will find lot numbers attached to each piece on display, and they correspond with the numbers in the catalogues, which are also around the saleroom so you can check out the description and estimate. Staff are on hand to answer any questions or help you get a better look at anything – you’ll find that’s true at any decent auction house.

And if you want to see a great bit of traditional auction drama, come along to the early part of one of our general auctions when the saleroom manager takes bids in the back viewing room rather than from the rostrum. You will find all the bidders standing together among the pieces being sold. There’s nothing quite like it to get you hooked.

If you do decide to bid, here are a couple of tips: firstly, how are you going to get your purchase home? If it’s a small piece of jewellery or a collectable, no problem; but what if it is a sideboard or a sofa? If you won’t be able to transport it yourself, find out how much it would cost to have it shipped to you before you bid. That way you won’t suffer any nasty surprises. Most auction houses will either be able to arrange shipping for you or give you the details of a reliable shipper.

Secondly, running auctions costs money, and some of the costs are passed on to the buyer in the form of fees charged as a percentage of the hammer price. Again, find out what they would be before you bid so that you have a clear understanding of what the final invoice total will be. That way you can bid with confidence.