A few weeks ago I mentioned that Roger Federer had decided to put up 20 lots of his match-worn clothing and racquets from his Grand Slam wins for auction to raise money for his foundation.
Now I’m pleased to report that so far the timed auction has raised £1.3 million and counting. Bidding will remain open until July 14.
Of course it helps that Fed is still in the running at Wimbledon, as I speak, having made it into the fourth round – and the second week – for the umpteenth time. And this illustrates one of the most important things about auctions: timing.
I’m sure Federer’s kit would make a great deal of money at any time, but I’m equally sure that more and higher bids will result from the auction being run alongside his favourite Grand Slam tournament, when many more minds are focused on all things tennis.
Such synchronicity is commonplace and for good reason.
In recent years, landmark exhibitions of largely forgotten or overlooked talent among Modern British artists have taken place at some of the most influential public galleries, including Pallant House Gallery in Chichester and the Dulwich Picture Gallery. As these exhibitions spark new interest in the likes of Cedric Morris, John Minton, Christopher Wood and Keith Vaughan, so collectors who have held their works for many a year decide that now might be the time to sell them at auction. Prices rise along with demand and the artist enjoys a greater profile. Depending on how much work of the first quality becomes available ongoing, this surge in popularity and value can last into the medium to long term.
It’s all about getting the timing right.