It’s amazing how sometimes it is the relatively uninitiated who have the clearest vision when it comes to auctions. At the weekend, I found myself reading a remarkable newspaper column that reminded me why nothing can replace the thrill of attending a view and then an auction in person. “eBay has been my main shopping mall since 2007,” wrote Eva Wiseman in The Observer, “because I both love old clothes and enjoy the chase. But the differences between a website and a real auction are vast and grounded largely in touch and smell, and the sense that a real person has curated this weekly museum of loss and memory.”
For all today’s technical necessities, compliance, logistics and so on, it is nice to be reminded why we have followed this calling – and being an auctioneer remains a vocation rather than a career.
Eva’s wise words continued to resonate throughout the article: “The stage on which we can see the evolution of taste play put is the auction house,” she notes as she is struck by “fresh pangs” at the lack of interest “in anything large, or ornate, or mahogany”. Whatever opinion formers in the media may claim, it is the test of the falling hammer at auction that separates the ‘in’ from the ‘out’ these days.
Most of all, though, Wiseman reveals what attracts her to auctions: “…I am chasing a moment. When the hammer goes down at the auction, I truly know what it feels like to win.”