Does selling at auction in London or through a major auction house gain higher sale prices? One might assume so, but the answer is quite often ‘no.’ Fred Wyrely-Birch, director at North East auction house Anderson and Garland, explains why:
First of all, keep in mind that the cost of going to auction is always higher in London. Some would assume that larger auction houses based in metropolitan areas like London or Paris will gain higher sales prices, but our many years of experience proves that this is not the case. We’ve heard many instances of people choosing to sell via a London auction house and then finding that the hassle and the return are not worth it. Expectations immediately become too high and the process is complicated and often confusing.
Here’s an example: a man who owned a number of French guns decided to sell them through a London agency. The guns were sent over to Paris for an exhibition, then transferred across to America after they didn’t sell, and eventually ended back up in Britain and unfortunately never sold. He decided that he would just keep the guns and requested them back… and then he received a hefty bill! The auction house charged him for all costs of transport as well as the auction costs on top of that, even though the items never sold. This sort of situation happens quite often. The guns actually proved to be rarer and of more interest when sold via his local auction house. Plus, the costs were lower with no travel costs incurred.
For free pre-sale valuations in the North East, we will happily go out and see the items or can offer a pre-sale valuation based on photos. For larger items and larger collections, or if you are not able to bring the items in, we do also offer a collection service for a small fee.
Historically, a larger audience would have turned out in London. But today, online bidding means that our auctions are viewed worldwide by a massive audience. We’re often selling to buyers in London and even China, with telephone bidders from around the world even bidding via the phone, even in our general auctions.
Not only are our items viewed by Anderson and Garland’s online bidding platform, they’re also available on www.the-saleroom.com and of course in person at our Newcastle-based auction house.
If you’re selling a valuable or particularly rare item, it doesn’t matter how ‘large’ an auction house you sell it through: people will notice it. Collectors and enthusiasts will notice if something they want is coming to auction, no matter where it is in the world!
Collectors and buyers are in fact often more likely to monitor local auction houses because they assume that they’ll get the items cheaper, which is also not necessarily the case. Then, because they’ve spent the time and effort watching the item, researching it and potentially even travelling to the auction, they’re already invested in it and are more likely to want to take it home with them.
Take another example, this time of the Outsider Art Sale at Anderson and Garland in 2017. After David Bowie’s outsider art sold at auction in London, we achieved record breaking prices with The Christian-Leopold Heppe Collection, which fetched over £650,000. The sale passed London, Birmingham, Nottingham and Leeds to be sold in Newcastle at Anderson and Garland!
The most important considerations when selling at auction are the cost of selling and that you trust the people you’re selling through.
Our auctioneers have the art of the valuation down to a tee. With our research and with the ongoing knowledge of what markets are doing, we are experts at determining how much an item will sell for, and we know how to value antiques and collectibles in order for them to sell for the right price.
Our auction house is the only one in the North East to have a full-time in-house photographer. Our items are photographed properly, catalogued properly and marketed widely to interested audiences. We also have a combined 200+ years’ experience and our customer service is second to none!
Considering selling at auction? Arrange an appointment by telephoning us on 0191 430 3000 or by submitting an online valuation request.