Having completed my series of posts about Scotland, I am now returning to the present with an account of James and Sons’ June Auction, which happened earlier this week.
THE AUCTION SCHEDULE
To set the scene for the rest of this post, the auction was arranged to run in two parts. Lots 1-600 went under the hammer at our own premises in central Fakenham on Monday June 26th, while lots 701-1300 were auctioned at Fakenham Racecourse on Wednesday June 28th. The Tuesday was set aside for getting things set up down at the racecourse, since experience had taught us that combining this with a day of auctioning at the shop was not a goer.
MONDAY 26TH – NORWICH STREET
The set up was accomplished fairly straightforwardly, and the sound and video checks went swiftly and easily. The auction got under way with 100 cigarette card lots, then 100 postcard lots, then some general ephemera, some numismatic and philatelic covers and ending with the stamps. The day started quietly, with the cigarette cards attracting very little interest and the postcards not much. It was the numismatic and philatelic covers that provided the only consistent sales of the day.
TUESDAY 27TH – SETUP DAY
We had loaded the first van load of stuff for the racecourse at the end of the previous week, so I headed straight from the bus to the racecourse to help unload that. This done and some stuff unloaded from the boss’s car it was back to the shop to load up the van for the second time. This van load then went to the racecourse without me, as I would be of more use working at the shop than down there. Then one of my colleagues was left alone at the racecourse and so I walked back down there to minimise the period for which this situation continued (the person who could drive the van was going to be at the shop for half an hour at least, and I could walk it in much less time than that). Finally, after a few final things had been brought down to the racecourse I got a lift back to the shop. At the end of the day I locked the shop, handed my key to a colleague who would need it on the morrow and headed home. Here are some pictures from the setup.
WEDNESDAY JUNE 28TH –
This was a very tiring day. It was raining heavily most of the time, including for the entire duration of the walk from Fakenham town centre to the racecourse in the morning.
We had been assured by the racecourse that they now had working wifi, but this proved to be an optimistic assessment and we had to use a wired connection, which dropped out four times in the course of the day (fortunately never for very long).
The early lots passed quietly, but then with lot 633 the first tranch of toy lots went under the hammer, and the internet bidders got busy, with three figure prices the rule rather than the exception. The ‘Manod’ steam toys later on also sold spectacularly well. After a few books and related stuff went under the hammer it was time for a few jewellery lots, which also sold well. Then it was into the coins, which started with some proof sets which fetched remarkable prices.
LOT 933: THE BEST LAID PLANS OF
MICE AND MEN GANG AFT AGLEY
When you see the image gallery for this lot you will realise why I had had my sights on it to the exclusion of all else in this auction:
Unfortunately from a personal point of view I had competition, and although I bid up to £40, when that final bid of mine was topped I conceded defeat.
LOT 935: ROMAN STYLE COINS
Although these were not the genuine article I decided that at next to nothing they were worth securing as a tiny consolation for the disappointment of a few moments earlier.
The coins continued to sell well. After the coins it was time for some militaria. Lot 1051 fetched a good price, and then came lot 1052 fetching the only four figure price of the auction.
The auction finished with 100 miscellaneous lots, which went fairly quietly, although even these attracted some interest. After Monday we had needed Wednesday to be a successful day, and it was.
For us there was still the clearing up to be done, but even that was accomplished sufficiently swiftly that I was able to get the 16:37 bus home. This departed late, but for an acceptable reason – the driver was resolving a situation created by another driver who was guilty of dereliction of duty – he had arrived from Wells, let off passengers, switched his destination to “Sorry Not In Service” and had then dashed off without picking up passengers. Stagecoach track their buses, and identified that this one had been parked up just outside Fakenham, and the rogue driver who by his selfishness had let down about 10 passengers was ordered back into service. This same thing had happened the previous day according to the waiting passengers except that he had got away with it, the passengers getting the later bus.