I have just completed a Q&A for a trade magazine, and it made me think, once again, of how the public view not just auctions but the wider art and antiques trade. While there are still a few people running cobweb-ridden, cluttered shops in country backwaters, where the stock seems to have been there from new, don’t make the mistake of thinking that auction houses and dealers are still living in the Dark Ages.
The auction process is both more complicated and exciting than retail, and that means we have to have technology that is able to do a lot more than just complete a customer’s order online.
Live bidding, previewing lots for sale with multiple images, registering bidders from dozens of different countries, fulfilling our obligations under due diligence and other regulations means we have to be at the top of our game all of the time. We’ve just added to all this by launching our own bidding platform, John Nicholson’s Direct, to give bidders a more competitive selection.
I’m delighted to say that this is as much a young man and woman’s game these days.
The excitement of buying and selling, collecting and doing deals knows no barrier when it comes to age or generation. It’s just the things that we choose to trade in that change over the years.
Even better news in the past few days is that the new generation of young adults are turning their attention once more to traditional antiques and decorative objects, having become bored with the monochrome clean lines of contemporary design.
Bedazzled by pattern, colour and craftsmanship, they are delighting in the discovery that striking pieces, from pictures to ceramics, combine well with muted interiors, enabling them to create room sets that reflect their own character and interests.
The wonderful thing about this for buyers is that many attractive items that have been out of fashion for a while can now be had for extremely competitive sums. For sellers, as such pieces become more popular, demand will catch up with supply and they will be able to make more money from them.