The last setting you would expect an auctioneer to take their life in their hands would be at a school’s charity fundraiser in a hotel ballroom, but that’s what happened when part of the ceiling collapsed at The Savoy on March 2. Fortunately, the only real damage was to the wonderful coving and a work of art created by the auctioneer, David Harper.
It was a lucky escape, but also a reminder of other close runs in the pursuit of our noble cause. I can think of a number of auctioneers who have found themselves holding live grenades after rummaging through a box of miscellaneous items consigned for the weekly general sale.
Certain types of auction can be more perilous than others; news in during the last week included the tale of several people hit by a car at an auto auction in the US. And spare a thought for the farmer crushed by a one-ton bull during a pedigree auction in Scotland recently.
As a whole, though, it is a comparatively safe enterprise when it comes to fine art, antiques and other chattels, I’m pleased to say. The biggest concern is usually how much damage someone may do to their wallet if they get a little too carried away when they see something they really love.