An introdfuction to next week’s James and Sons’ auctions.
James and Sons’ October auctions will be taking place next week. A combination of factors, including a colleague being signed off sick for three months, left us somewhat behind schedule, but the printed catalogues should be arriving either today or early tomorrow, and the online catalogue is ready for viewing. The rest of this post details what will be going under the hammer on each day.
MONDAY 23 OCTOBER, SHOP
This auction kicks of with 250 lots of military themed postcards, then 150 lots of ephemera and finishes with 100 lots of cigarette/ Trade cards. Here are a few of the lots:
TUESDAY OCTOBER 24 – SHOP
Postal History, Stamps, Coins and Banknotes. This sale starts at lot 601 and ends at lot 1100.
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 25TH – FAKENHAM RACECOURSE
This auction features lots 1201-1600. These lots include Jewellery, toys, militaria and other objects of interest.
Welcome to this little post about my work at James and Sons. There are two main parts to this post – one features an event from the last of the September auctions, while the second deals with the upcoming October auctions.
ON THE POWER OF INTERNET BIDDING
On Thursday I put out a press release with the title “The Power of Internet Bidding”, which focussed on lot 1301 from our previous auction. On Friday someone from Archant (the media company who publish The Eastern Daily Press among others) asked a number of follow-up questions, so I expect a short piece to appear in the EDP before too long. Here is a screenshot of my original press release, along with the image used therein and a link to the document:
An account of the three James and Sons auctions that started this week.
This week started for me with three auctions on successive days, the first two at our premises in Fakenham and the third at The Maids Head Hotel, Norwich. This post covers the three days in order.
DAY 1: MONDAY
Reorganising the shop to look like an auction venue and setting out the stock for this auction had been done on Friday by myself and a colleague. Thus, when I arrived on Monday morning the only set up work that was required was the electronics and IT stuff.
I managed to get everything set up before anyone else arrived and to verify that the sound and video were working. Here are some photos from this period:
THE AUCTION ITSELF
There was a hitch after the first few lots when the master computer decided to install a load of updates, but we got back up and running again without too much fuss. The military RP postcards that started the auction fared OK, the ephemera and cigarette cards fared poorly (although lot 341 found a buyer – me).
The maps which finished the auction off fared well at first, with several going for big money, but the ex-atlas maps that formed lots 538-600 did not do so well. Lot 553 fell to me.
This was always going to be the quietest of the three auctions, since it featured postal history, stamps and first-day covers, none of which fare particularly well. However that did not make my day any less busy since by the end of it the shop needed to look more like a shop and less like an auction room, and the van had to be loaded with all the stuff that was going to Norwich the following day.
The last item went under the hammer just after 12:00, and by the end of the day the van was loaded and with the sole exception of the big screen still being downstairs the shop was as it had been on Friday morning before I got to work on it. Here are some pictures from this second day:
The cost of a single fare on the X1 (I had a week’s ticket for Stagecoach buses) having been obtained on Tuesday I duly caught the 5:30AM bus for Norwich, and arrived at the venue at about 7:30. My colleague who had the IT/ electronics stuff (bar my computer, being used today as we needed three and it was the only portable computer bar the two we regularly to use to which we had access) arrived a few minutes later and we did that side of the setup. The auctioneer arrived with the van full of stock some time later, and we did the rest of the setup.
The day went very well. The first big sale was lot 1,159, which fetched £80, but many other lots had sold for small amounts by then (this sale started from lot 1,051).
It continued to the case that most lots sold albeit not for huge amounts. Lot 1,301 achieved the biggest sale price of any individual lot over the three days – £450.
Lot 1357 was a collection of masonic regalia, and it so happened that a high ranking mason was present in the auction room and bought it.
Lot 1439 was of personal interest but the asking price was too high for me, so I had to let it go.
However, a few moments later I saw a more satisfactory outcome. Lots 1449 and 1450 were military history reference books put in by me (I had only intended to put one lot in, but I was persuaded to try both). I was prepared for these items not to sell, so when the lots went for £12 each (to a room bidder who had looked at them in the flesh) I regarded this as unequivocally good news.
There were few more moments of note before the auction ended at lot 1543:
Once the van had been loaded I was able to take my leave, and headed for the Norwich Millennium Library to see what books I could borrow.
It was an exhausting three days, but quite satisfying. Monday was a bit quiet and Tuesday exceedingly so, but enough good things happened on Wednesday to make up for this.
An account of the rescheduled James and Sons auction which happened yesterday.
Followers of this blog will be aware that the second James and Sons August auction had to be postponed. Yesterday, at James and Sons own premises, 5 Norwich Street, Fakenham NR21 9AF was the appointed time and place for the rescheduled auction. We could not display all the stock in the limited space of our shop, so only small items made it downstairs. What follows is in account of my day and of the auction.
BEFORE THE BEGINNING
Some preliminary testing was done on Thursday to help ensure that the auction ran properly. On the Friday I caught the first bus of the morning into Fakenham. I was thus at the shop at about 7:10am, and after making a cup of coffee, getting my computer switched on and checking my emails I had a little time to spare before anyone else would be arriving, so I photographed some maps that will feature in the first of our end of September auctions. At 7:45AM I headed back downstairs, switched the downstairs lights on to acknowledge my presence to the world and was ready for action. Here are some photos from this period…
A TESTING BEGINNING
Because of the circumstances of the auction there was a button I had to press called ‘repush bidders live’ when preparing for the start of the auction. Additionally, the auctioneer had decided to start at lot 921 instead of the official lot 924, which meant that I had to manually re-offer those first three lots before the system got back in sequence. A reset request from atgmedia also contributed to a slowish start. However, once this was all dealt with the auction proceeded smoothly.
THE AUCTION AND CLEAR-UP
The militaria fared well, the antiques and bygones far better than I had expected, while the records and books were predictably quiet. Then we got into the ephmera, for which section I had two plans, as follows:
If lot 1415 was available at a price within my means I would get that and my interest as a potential buyer would terminate.
If plan 1 failed then I would try my luck with lots 1422 and 1428, with a fair degree of confidence of getting them.
In the event the starting price for lot 1415 was too high for me (I had decided that I would come in at £25 but not if more was required, and the auctioneer wanted £30), but I was successful with plan 2, getting each item for £10.
Some of the framed prints sold as well, which is all to the good. Lot 1600, the last item in the sale went under the hammer at about 2:20PM, and once I had accomplished as much of the clear-up of the IT stuff as was possible (typically, the laptop we used as the master computer decided that before shutting down it needed to install a load of updates, so I had to leave it where it was, though now unlugged and running on battery).
After consuming my sandwiches I was able to get away, having had a tiring but very satisfying day.
The rescheduling of an auction – a first in my time at James and Sons.
Yesterday was the day on which James and Sons’ second August auction should have taken place. This post is about what actually happened.
I arrived at Fakenham Racecourse precisely as planned, which was about the last occasion on that day that anything could be said to have gone to plan. We were slightly late getting things set up. Then my computer failed to connect to the racecourse’s internet as their set up is not secure enough for my computer’s liking. Another laptop having been located it then became apparent that we would not be able to run video, although the audio seemed fine.
Just after lot 923 went under the hammer we finally and definitively lost our audio as well. Discussion with the folks at the-saleroom.com, which included them being given remote access to one of our computers failed to resolve the situation, and after 15 minutes attempting to resolve the situation we decided that the only option was to postpone the auction, so on Friday 8th September at 10AM we will be having an auction at our shop which will start at lot 924 and end at lot 1600.
Once the we had got the stuff back to the shop we got the auction officially rescheduled and I sent out a bulk email and a press release about the new auction. Here are both documents, and all the images used in their creation save for that of the record.
An account of the first of James and Sons’ two August auctions.
As I have previously mentioned the presence of a Bank Holiday at a crucial time means that James and Sons are having two auctions in August. The first took place yesterday and is the subject of this post. The second will take place on Wednesday, with setup happening on the Tuesday.
For this first auction, which took place at our own premises on Norwich Street, Fakenham, the following items were going under the hammer:
Coins – lots 1-300
Stamps – lots 301-400
Postal History – lots 401-550
Cigarette Cards – lots 551-650
Postcards – lots 651-807
These lots would take somewhat in excess of five hours to sell at our usual rate of progress.
THE DAY FROM MY ANGLE
With viewing advertised as starting from 8AM it was necessary for someone to be present from that hour of the morning. My colleague Andrew would be turning up to assist with the IT setup, which left me with a choice of two options:
Get the 6:23 bus and arrive at the shop very early
Get the 7:30 bus and arrive at the shop a bit later than ideal
Being me I preferred the first option, and duly unlocked the shop at 7:20AM. I made a coffee, checked my personal emails, knocked up a poster to explain what was going on (screenshot and link to original below): 800 LOT AUCTION
The originals were A4 sized – Arial Black 64pt in bold for this interested in such matters, and I produced 3 copies, one for a window towards the town centre end of the shop, one for the window at the opposite end and one to go with the regular closed/open sign on the door which was also set to closed. Next up came transferring everything needed for the setup downstairs, and doing as much as could be done at that stage. Then, just as I decided to turn the downstairs lights on and acknowledge my presence to the world in general my colleague arrived and we were able to complete the set up, and I fetched a couple of extra chairs from behind the shop so that we had seating for five room bidders. When the auctioneer arrived I was then able to connect up both the computers we were using for the auction (one is his laptop), switch them on, log in to the correct screens in each (the operator screen on his laptop which we use as that master computer and the auctioneer screen on the other), get the slideshow going on the big screen and precheck audio and video so that even if no one at atgmedia (they are seriously understaffed) managed to do an official check I would know that they were working. At 9AM the auctioneer asked me to make a preliminary announcement in case anyone was already logged on, so I did so. A second announcement at 9:30 was heard by someone at atgmedia who confirmed that audio and video were working. Just after this our first room bidder arrived and I issued him with a bidding card (and later added his details to our client database as a coin buyer) and gave some advice about car parks (although I am a non-driver I am well acquainted with the ways of car parks in Fakenham, and my advice was sound – if he wants to park free then go to Tesco where he could park free for three hours, which as a coin specialist would be enough to see every lot of interest to him go under the hammer, if happy to pay use the car park behind our shop). At 9:50 I closed down the operator screen on the main computer, and relogged in from scratch, a regular precaution that I take. Finally, the time reached 10:00 and the start of…
The coins by and large sold well, with several bidders in the room and some action online. The stamps were quiet although some did sell, including a Chinese stamp which went for £85. The postal history also started quiet, but a large number of the later lots sold to an internet bidder. Some of the cigarette cards sold. There were some good sales among the postcards, and others which attracted no interest elsewhere were knocked down to a postcard dealer with whom the auctioneer has a regular arrangement. Each time an item sold to an online bidder whose name I did not recognize I noted their surname, paddle number and area of interest so that whatever else I have time to do in that respect actual bidders will definitely be added to the client database.
The last lot went under the hammer at about 2:30PM, and I then attended to clearing up the IT/ electronic equipment, and as my last work related action of the day sent an email written by the auctioneer to the buyer of postal history regarding some of the earlier lots in that section that he might have missed (he is based in the USA, so the first postal history lots went under the hammer quite early morning his time).
In total those items that did sell had a combined hammer price of just over £3,900 which made it a good day. We wait to see what happens on Wednesday.
I will end with some pictures that relate to this post:
James and Sons usually have an auction near the end of each month. In August a combination of an intervening bank holiday and the fact that it takes a full day to set things up at Fakenham Racecourse means that we will be having two separate auctions near the end of August:
On Friday August 25th we will be having an auction at our shop in Fakenham.
On Wednesday August 30th we will be having an auction at Fakenham Racecourse.
THE FRIDAY SALE
This sale kicks off with a large number of coin lots. Here are some pictures:
THE WEDNESDAY SALE
I included some of the pictures I have taken for this sale in my previous post, and although I will not ignore those items I will include only the main images and urge you to consult my previosu post for the rest.