A Massively Successful Auction

An account of yesterday’s splendidly successful auction.

INTRODUCTION

On Wednesday James and Sons had a small but very important auction featuring gold coins and proof sets. We were anticipating a very considerable success, because we knew that there were bids of sufficient size on every lot that everything would sell, and we also knew that some of the items had a very large number of watchers online (one had no fewer than 17). The rest of this post tells the story of a truly amazing auction.

TUESDAY – FINAL PREPARATIONS

In view of the high value of the gold the only items that were set out on display were as many of the proof sets as I could lay out on one large table. I also made sure that the IT was all fully functional, as the last thing we wanted was for a glitch to affect this auction. I was able to enjoy the NAS West Norfolk Steak Night at The Globe later that evening in the knowledge that all had gone as smoothly as it could have (I restricted myself to a modest two pints of Ringwood Fortyniner in view of the importance of the following day). 

WEDNESDAY – A DAY OF TRIUMPHS

I awoke a few minutes before my alarm was due to go off (not uncommon with me – the alarm is more insurance policy than necessity) and left my flat precisely as intended at 6:45, ensuring that there was no chance of missing the bus. Arriving at the shop, I unlocked, deactivated the alarm, then relocked the door as in view of what was in the shop I did not want customers coming in while I was there on my own. I then began to set up for the day. The auctioneer arrived not very long after me, and I was able to complete the setup, verify that everything was working and take some photographs. Before nine o’clock customers started arriving, and by 9:30 it was standing room only in the shop, as no fewer than 16 potential room bidders were present, in addition to over 60 online bidders and not a few who had put commission bids in in advance of the sale.

P1190889
The proof set display, with lot 135 front centre
P1190886
One of the two significant coins from lot 139…
P1190887
…and the other
P1190888
The setup before anyone else had arrived.
P1190892
Potential room bidders (three pics)

P1190893P1190894

P1190891
Lot 139 on the big screen.

THE AUCTION STARTS

The first five lots were 1974 Krugerrands which were expected to make approximately £800 each and did exactly that. Then came lot 6, the James II Guinea which was one of two items that had been the subject of a query the previous day as a result of which it had extra images above the regular image gallery for such an item. Estimated at £500-750 the interest it had attracted saw the final hammer price reach exactly £1,000.

6
The first three images constitute my regular image gallery for a single coin.

6-a6-b

6-c
One of the questions asked about this coin related to the edge, and to help back up my own comments on the edge of this coin I took two photographs that between showed it in its entirety.

6-d

Lot 7 was a William III Half Guinea, which in relative terms fared even better since with an estimate of £300-500 it actually went for £900!

77-b7-a7-c7-d

Lots 8 to 24 inclusive were half sovereigns, and all sold well, most going for around the £100 mark. Lots 25 to 90 incluisve were…

SOVEREIGNS FROM VICTORIA THROUGH ELIZABETH II

These we knew would sell respectably, because a major and long standing client whose job is to sell gold items had put in commission bids of £180 a time on the whole lot, confirming our auctioneers valuation was on the mark. Most of the sovereigns actually sold for more than that, £190 being a common figure and a few of them going to and in some cases beyond £200. Then came…

LOTS 91-5 – THE HUGE SUCCESSES

The first four of these lots were high value gold proof sets which we were expecting to be on or around the four figure mark. Actually, and barely believable they went for £1,600, £2,000, £2,000 and £1,600 respectively!!

9191-a91-c91-d91-e9292-a92-c92-d92-e9393-a93-b9494-a94-b

Lot 95 was a sovereign in a gold mount with a gold chain and 8 1mm diamonds (in otherwords a very fancy necklace). Estimate at £300-400 it eventually sold for £550.

9595-a

After these it was time for…

THE REGULAR PROOF SETS

Of course after what gone before the proof sets were a little bit “after the Lord Mayor’s show”, but there were still a handful of highlights to come.

LOTS 113 AND 114

These were respectively a Scottish and Welsh proof set (hence the split colouring of the heading) each expected to make £8-12. The Scottish set went for £20 and the Welsh for £18

113113-a113-b114-a114

These were a mere curtain raiser for…

LOT 121

A 1992 proof set featuring an EEC 50p coin the rarity of which turned a £10-15 estimate into a £50 hammer price!

121

The next big success was…

LOT 128

This 1999 proof set featuring a Diana Princess of Wales £5, a bimetallic rugby £2 and Scottish coins from £1 down to 1p had an estimate of £15-20 and ended up going for £32.

128

Then came two successive monster successes with…

LOTS 135 and 136

Lot 135, a 2009 proof set, featuring as it did the highly prized Kew Gardens 50p, the Henry VIII £5, and the Darwin and Burns £2 coins was estimated at £100-120 but ended up going for £220!

135135-a135-b135-c

135-d
A close up of this one was mandatory.
135-e
I also deemed the Darwin £2 worthy of a close-up

135-f

Lot 136 was a 2010 proof set featuring a Restoration of the Monarchy £5 (350th anniversary thereof), A Florence Nightingale £2, a London £1 and a Girl Guiding 50p. Estimated at £20-25 it sold for £100!!

136

Not long later came…

LOT 139 – A BITTERSWEET IMAGER’S TRIUMPH

This London Underground 150th anniversary proof set had been badly misdescribed, with one of the £2 coins mentioned as featuring trains, and the roundel coin not even mentioned, but the imager’s efforts more than compensated for this. Estimated at £25-30 it attracted sufficient interest to push the final price up to £52 (and inter alia out of the imager’s reach, hence the heading of this section).

139
Lot 139 in all it’s glory.
139-c
The ’roundel’ coin which is fairly rare.
139-b
The other London Underground 150th anniversary coin, which is much less rare.

139-a

That was the last of the yearly proof sets, but there were still a few lots to go, and two of them provided noteworthy results.

LOT 148 – A SENEGALESE STUNNER

This 1975 Senegal Triple Crown, solid sterling silver, Euroafrique 150 franc coin, boxed and with a certificate was estimated at £15-20, but a lively bidding battle pushed the final price up to £48.

148148-a148-b148-c

Finally, came…

A STRONG FINISH

Lot 151, the final lot in this small sale,  was an accumulation box containing a few good bits and some ordinary stuff.  Estimated at £40-50 it ended up going for £95.

151

Once the auction setup had been dismantled and the last room bidders had gone it was time for me to attend to other matters. You can view a catalogue for the general collector’s auction we have next Wednesday here.

THURSDAY – PUTTING TOGETHER A PRESS RELEASE ABOUT THIS AUCTION

Yesterday morning I produced a PR piece about the success of this sale, going big on the images as well. I conclude this piece with a link and a screenshot:

GOLD COIN AUCTION GIVES FAKENHAM AUCTIONEER BEST RESULT IN YEARSPRimage

 

 

 

 

 

The Last Auction Of 2017

An account of James and Sons’ final auction of 2017.

INTRODUCTION

James and Sons last auction of 2017 took place at our own premises in central Fakenham on Wednesday, and in this post I tell the story of that sale.

THE PRELIMINARIES – TUESDAY

On Tuesday we moved the stock for auction downstairs, and with that laid out, and the smaller high-value lots in the vault until the morning I then brought down and set up such of the IT equipment as I could (we are a laptop down at present so I would be pressing my own machine into service once again) and carried out a brief test which suggested that all was in order and that there should be no issues. 

THE AUCTION ITSELF

I arrived at work bright and early since not even Stagecoach can contrive to have the first bus of the day run seriously late. For those living in Norfolk and uncertain regarding buses in the holiday period services will stop early on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, there will be no services at all on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day and a “Saturday service” will operate from the 27th to 29th of December inclusive (and since that day is actually a Saturday presumably also on the 30th). 

Coffee made, emails checked and a few things gathered up to go downstairs I went back downstairs at 7:45AM. The IT setup went smoothly, and I had the slide show running before any bidders arrived (there were a few room bidders on this occasion). Here are some pictures from this period:

Stock 1Stock 2IT setupBig Screen

BANKNOTES AND COINS

The auction kicked off with some uncirculated banknotes which went for very high prices. Lot 43, a display book showing old and new format New Zealand banknotes, brought the curtain down on that segment, going for £440. 

Lots 44-50 were less valuable banknotes. Then lots 51-56 were very rare coins. Unfortunately the reserves had been set too high to attract bidders, with the exception of lot 51, a 1787 gold guinea which went for £600. 

The remaining lots of coins and banknotes went fairly quietly, although there were a one or two good prices achieved. 

1
Imaging these uncirculated banknotes was a fiddle. They had to be imaged through the plastic covers they were encased in to avoid damage, and the black bakcground was needed for use in the catalogue. Additionally, since both sides were required what you see are two images joined to become one.

44343-a43-d

1-p
Lot 51.

POSTCARDS

Lots 151-300 were postcards, mainly military themed, and while there were no headline grabbers in this section, most of them did find buyers. 

STAMPS

Not quite on a par with the extraordinary happenings of November 29 (see here for more details), but much better than our stamp sections have historically been. 

EPHEMERA

The last 100 lots (501-600) to go under the hammer at James and Sons in 2017 were all ephemera. I expected a fairly quiet end to the auction, and that is what eventuated. Lot 545, with a modest estimate of £20-30 went for £75.

545

Immediately before that an optimistic bid I placed on lot 544 met no opposition. At some stage I will probably do a whole post about this lot. This is the picture that everyone was able to see:

544

Here are some more pictures taken today…

Farnham and AltonHampton CourtEgham and ChertseyArrangements with other railway companiesReading, Guildford & ReigateLondon BridgeWhitchurch, Andover and SalisburyGuildford, Fareham, PortsmouthRichmond to WindsorStaines to Wokingham and WokingWimbledon to CroydonReading extensionHavant to GodalmingSalisbury to YeovilYeovil to ExeterBranch to Cambridge TownSussex and SurreyAmalgamationBasingstoke to NewburyDorsetNorth Cornwall

A Successful Work Week

An account of James and Sons’ October auctions.

INTRODUCTION

This week was auction week at James and Sons. This post covers the events of the three days.

MONDAY – JAMES AND SONS PREMISES

I arrived at our premises in Fakenham at about 7:15AM, and made a cup of coffee, checked my emails and attended to IT setup. I had time to take a few photographs before anyone else arrived.

Lots 1-500
Lots 1-500 laid out for auction
Day 1 setup
The layout of the ersatz auction room.
Big screen
The big screen running the slideshow.
Cig and trade cards
The last lots we would be seeing today.
Ephemera
The ephemera (lots 251-400)
Theatre poster
A theatre poster.
Postcards
Lots 1-250 (military RP postcards)

LOTS 1-250 (POSTCARDS)

These fared reasonably thanks to the internet. Three lots in particular went way above estimate. Lots 175 was estimated at £8-12, but courtesy of an internet battle soared to £28. Lot 213 with a modest estimate of £5-8 went for £25. Lot 227 had an estimate of £8-12 and sold for £30. Here are the items in question.

175
175
213
213
227
227

All these pictures incidentally are scans, at 200dpi. 

LOTS 251-400 – EPHEMERA

No high prices from this section, although lot 353 went for significantly over estimate. Lot 321 fell my way unopposed, and lot 399, which I had had an eye on also fell to me (I ventured a hopeful bid, not expecting for an instant to get the item, only because lot 353 which I had assessed as the more likely bet went elsewhere).

321
Lot 321 (two images)

321-a

353
Lot 353 – the railway outlined in this bill now forms part of a line that runs from London Waterloo to Reading.
399
Lot 399 (five images).

399-a399-b399-c399-d

 

CIGARETTE/ TRADE CARDS – LOTS 401-500

Nothing noteworthy happened in this section. The auction finished, it was still necessary to move the items from this sale upstairs and to bring the stock (save the very large stuff) for the next day’s sale downstairs. 

TUESDAY – JAMES AND SONS PREMISES

Again an early arrival gave me time to do a bit before anyone else was there. I also had time for a few pre-auction photographs.

Lots 601-1100601-1100StampsSmall stampsSmall stamps 2full setupBig Screen 1Penny Black close upBig Screen 291392410291000

601
The opening lot of the day as shown on the big screen.
1100
The closing lot of the day as shown on the big screen (I had the slide show on a loop, so that after showing lot 1100 it started again at lot 601)

836901

 

LOTS 601-900 – POSTAL HISTORY AND STAMPS

Although this was in absolute terms a quiet period, this items fared much better than usual. The headline grabber was lot 850, which had an estimate of £40-50 but sold in the end for £85.

 

850

COINS AND BANKNOTES – LOTS 901-1100

Lot 947, which was an 1809 Demi-Franc, had an estimate of £30-50, but some vigorous internet bidding pushed the price up to £130. Lot 980, a brass token from Long Sutton had an esimate of £8-12, but attracted sufficient interest to sell for £20.

947
Lot 947 (3 images). I do small coin lots on the scanner, at 600dpi and with the scan area set to A5 landscape, which means I can only use half the scanner bed, but this saves time in the end, as they scan more than twice as quickly than if I had used the full plate). This main image is the two scans (of each face of the coin) joined together to make a single image.

947-a947-b

980
Lot 980 – the usual three images for a single coin.

980-a980-b

The auction concluded, it remained to render the premises something that looked more like a shop and of course to ensure that the IT stuff got the racecourse, where the stock bar a dolls house that was still in the shop had already been laid out.

WEDNESDAY – FAKENHAM RACECOURSE

My first action an arrival the venue inadvertently caused a problem. I had been equipped with a key to the venue, as it was highly likely that I would be the first James and Sons employee on the scene. Unfortunately I had not been told that an alarm had been set, much less what the alarm code was. I only realised this when I unlocked the door and heard the telltale bleep of an alarm that needed to be deactivated. Fortunately that was the only significant problem I was to have in the course of the day. The fact that I had to use my employer’s laptop as the master machine because my machine has nowhere to attach the cable that connects the big screen to a computer and the third laptop was needed by my colleague for the invoicing (which apparently could only be done on that specific machine). The trouble with using my employer’s laptop as the main machine is that goes to sleep every few minutes, which in turn means that the slide show will go blank. I had time for a bit of photography.

IT setup, racecourseBig screenRostrum1201-1600 displayedShotguns 112731252View towards rostrumToysToys 2headgear15901590 - rolling stock15471547 side onView from the rostrumShotgunsMilitariaMilitaria 2Bannerdisplay caseMedalsDolls HouseView from the rostrum 2

ANTIQUES AND BYGONES – LOTS 1201-1300

Some of these items were very interesting. Two achieved significantly more than expected. Lot 1245 was a set of four world cup 1966 placemats and four world cup 1966 coasters which had been given a modest estimate of £5-10. They actually sold for £25. Lot 1252, which was a set of two railway themed badges which I had been interested in, estimated at £8-10, caught the attention of the internet and ended up going for £20. 

1245
Lot 1245 (three images).

1245-a1245-b

1252
Lot 1252 (five images, as the second badge is double sided, which had to be shown.

1252-a1252-b1252-c1252-d

MILITARIA – LOTS 1301-1540

Most of the lots in this section found buyers, but not for very large amounts. There was one headline maker however. Lot 1520 was a Luftwaffe Paratrooper’s Private Purchase Dagger, estimated at £40-50, which ended up going for £85.

1520
Lot 1520 (three images)

1520-a1520-b

TOYS – LOTS 1541-1600

Again it was a case of steady rather than spectacular sales, but three items did particularly well. Lot 1547, a model train that had been valued at £5-10 ended up selling for £20 (it had been described as a Hornby, but was actually a Triang, a better name as far as collectors are concerned,). Lot 1590, which was a complete Hornby train set, and had been estimated at £20-30 went for £50. Finally, the last lot of the sale, a Star Wars Millennium Falcon estimated at £15-20 went for £30 (this was a case of patience being rewarded – the successful bidder was a chap who had travelled over from Norwich specifically to bid on that one item and waited out the entire day’s selling until it came up). 

1547
1547 (two images)

1547-a

1590
1590.
1600
1600 (two images)

1600-a

THE FINAL FURLONG

After the last lot had sold, and the last payment from a room bidder had been taken it was time for the clear up, which was accomplished swiftly. Back at the shop, once everything had been unloaded from the van I produced a printed list of online bidders to bring my working week to a close. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Auction Triple Bill

An account of the three James and Sons auctions that started this week.

INTRODUCTION

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:

Auction 1
The auction area before I had brought the electronics and IT stiuff down.
Auction 2
This image and the four that follow are of auction stock.

Auction 3Auction 4

Auction 5
There will be more to come about these maps.
Auction 6
The two boxes of maps were being sold as one single lot.
Auction 7
The IT setup – In front of the master computer which I operate is my catalogue, a notepad and my ersatz coaster. Between the two computers is the mic, while the camera though connected to my computer is positioned atop David’s screen. Behind David’s machine is the big screen so that room bidders can view images of the items.

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). 

341
This full image gallery for lot 341 shows that I cannot be accused of withholding anything about this lot in spite of my personal interest.

341-b341-c341-a341-d341-e

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.

513
Lot 513 – hammer price £50
514
Lot 514 (four images) – hammer price £200!!

514-b515-c514-a

515
Lot 515 – hammer price £65

515-a515-b

553
Lot 553 – the one that I got.

TUESDAY

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:

Auction day 2Auction day 2 - 2Auction day 2 - 3Auction day 2 - 4

WEDNESDAY

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).
image

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.
1301-s

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.
image

Lot 1439 was of personal interest but the asking price was too high for me, so I had to let it go.
14391439-a1439-b1439-c1439-d1439-e1439-f1439-g

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.

MB
Lot 1449
MB2
Lot 1450

There were few more moments of note before the auction ended at lot 1543:

1543
The last of 43 of these map plates that went under the hammer at this auction, the first 70 having gone under the hammer on Monday.

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 Auction Deferred

An account of the rescheduled James and Sons auction which happened yesterday.

INTRODUCTION

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…

bus map
This route map can be seen at the bus stands on Oak Street, Fakenham

a1

a2
From here until the picture of the two computers are pictures relating to auction layout and setup

a3ToysEphemera

Beatrix Potter coins
The light was wrong for capturing these Beatrix Potter coins – the sun was shining directly on them.

Hats 1Hats 2

IT setup
The IT setup – the silvery computer is the master machine,, and is open on the operator screen, with my notepad, pen, catalogue and ersatz coaster (formerly the back cover of a notepad) in front of it, along with my bidding paddle. Note also the camera attached to to the other machine and positioned to focus on the auctioneer, and the brand spanking new mic in the middle.
545
The maps – this is lot 538, and although I only got up to lot 545 there are maps from this series up to lot 600, and then a few more will feature in the third and final auction of the end of September series, with lot numbers in the 1500s. I will be imaging the rest on Tuesday.

544543542541540539538

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:

  1. If lot 1415 was available at a price within my means I would get that and my interest as a potential buyer would terminate.
    14151415-a1415-b1415-d1415-c
  2. If plan 1 failed then I would try my luck with lots 1422 and 1428, with a fair degree of confidence of getting them.

    1422
    Lot 1422 (four images)

    1422-a1422-b1422-c

    1428
    Lot 1428

    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. 

 

James and Sons First August Auction

An account of the first of James and Sons’ two August auctions.

INTRODUCTION

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.

THE GOODS

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:

  1. Get the 6:23 bus and arrive at the shop very early
  2. 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):
warning poster800 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 AUCTION

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.

PHOTOGRAPHS

I will end with some pictures that relate to this post:

Auction stock full
The whole stock for this auction in one shot
Coins
The coins
Bulky lots
The bulky lots down on the ground
PH and CC
postal history and cigarette cards
CC
cigarette cards and postcards
28
Lot 28 – sold for over double the upper estimate (3 images)

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638
Lot 638 – I thought about bidding on this but decided not to – there is stuff on Wednesday that I want more than I want this.
1053
This is lot 1053, which will be going under the hammer on Wednesday (5 images)

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Lot 1509 on Wednesday

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Lot 1220 on Wednesday.

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The September Auction and a Sneak Preview of Some October Items

An account of james and Sons’ September auction, with a spotlight on the October auction.

INTRODUCTION

James and Sons’ September auction took place this Wednesday at Fakenham Racecourse, while apart from on that day my recent work has mainly been focussed on the October auction (Wednesday 26th, Maids Head Hotel, Norwich.

THE SEPTEMBER AUCTION

I was not involved with setting this auction up on the Tuesday due to having other work to do back at base, but I did make a flying visit to the racecourse that day to resolve some queries that people had raised at the last minute about auction items (one potential customer wanted an image that had been missed and another wanted a detailed condition report on pair of vintage spectacles – the fact that both items sold to the customers who had made the inquiries was final proof that their queries had been resolved). That just left…

THE DAY OF THE AUCTION

My work day did not get off to the best of starts, because I fell victim to a recent timetable change and arrived at the racecourse a little later than I would have liked (I now have a copy of the timetable that will come into force from this Sunday). Fortunately there were no serious issues with the IT, and the auction started on time.

INADEQUATE COVER

With the auctioneer needing regular breaks from the rostrum, and the only person capable of substituting for him being also the only person who could substitute for my role on the rostrum I was at my post while the first 650 lots went under the hammer, finally getting to consume my sandwiches at 2:20PM, before resuming my post for the last 50 or so lots (the auction ended at lot 781). This, combined with the heavy lifting work at the end, made for an exhausting and stressful day.

THE TALE OF THE HAMMER

The auction began with banknotes and coins, which fared pretty well overall. Then there were a large number of stamp lots, which predictably enough did not attract huge attention (www.the-saleroom.com while good for many things are poor on stamps, and there were not many people there in the room). After that there were a variety of different items, some of which sold well. In among the medley of items in this middle and latter part of the auction was lot 461, four decorative plates produced by Coalport, all in their original boxes with paperwork. This might not sound like the kind of lot to catch the photographer’s eye, but the the images below may provide some explanation…

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My opening bid of £12 proved sufficient to secure the items (I had prepared for the possibility of success by bringing a stout, empty, fabric bag with me to transport them).

The auction ended with some ‘Bradbury’ stamp pages, which may as well not have gone under the hammer at all since by then there was no one left in the room save staff.

Overall it was a successful sale.

THE CLEAR UP

While two of my colleagues took a few items to our storage unit near the village of Syderstone (principally the rostrum and the stools that we sit on behind it) I moved as much stuff as I could (almost all of it) over to the door so that it could be loaded straight on to the van once they were back. The van duly loaded it was time to head back into town, and thanks to my colleague dropping me on Oak Street I was just able to catch the 16:38 bus home. The bus to work yesterday morning was 20 minutes late leaving King’s Lynn, so by the time I arrived there were a mere five boxes of stuff left to carry in to the building, a task I accomplished in not much more time than it took the kettle to boil for my coffee.

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SPOTLIGHT ON OCTOBER

Wednesday apart, since September 15 I have been engaged on a major project at work – describing and imaging a vast number of posters – a task that is not quite finished, but which is responsible for almost 250 lots so far. The first 230 or so of these lots were film posters, ranging in size from a colossal 40 inches by 30 to 16.5 inches by 16.5. Here are a few examples…

481

495
This poster is definitely worth money.

497

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This is an example of a double sided poster – one side facing inside, the other with mirror writing on it designed to show in a passing driver’s mirror.

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Yesterday, after a few more film posters I finally got some variety…

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698
I particularly appreciated this poster and the next.

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