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.
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 James and Sons’ July auction – 1,500 lots over three days.
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week James and Sons had its July auction. 500 lots went under the hammer on each day.
This first day of the sale featured coins, banknotes, cheques, P&N covers and militaria. There were quiet moments in most categories, but also plenty of stuff sold, some of it doing very well. Here are some pictures from this first day:
Along the way, lot 377, one of the P&N covers, was knocked down to me:
With stamps, postal history, a few postcards and first-day covers going under the hammer this was always likely to be the quietest of the three days and it was, although there were a few good sales. Here are some pictures from day 2:
With postcards, cigarette & trade cards, ephemera, books, records and some interesting railwayana this was the day that we expected to go best, and it did. After a quietish start with the postcards, the cigarette and Liebig cards attracted in plenty of online bidders, some of the ephemera did very well, and both the large boxes of railway books found a buyer (someone who I had been in email contact with following a query about the contents of one of the boxes – I take the fact that she bought both boxes full as a definitive judgement as to the adequacy of my response!). I was also relieved because of its weight to see lot 1451 find a buyer. Lot 1379 went to me.
After a few minutes spent making the shop look more like a shop and less like an auction venue and a few more minutes spent consuming my sandwiches I finished up by adding details of those who had actually madce bids to the client database and printing out a complete list of those who had registered to bid online (196 of them on this occasion).
Here are some pictures relating to this third day:
Overall across the three days the total hammer price for sold items was just over £10,000, and while some of these were owned by external vendors, meaning that our gains are limited to the lotting fees, vendors commission and buyers premium, many were from our own stock. At the end of August we will be having auctions at our shop and also at Fakenham Racecourse.
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.
My response to Laina’s magnificent 500th blog post “The Autistic Pride Award [500th Post]”.
Laina over at thesilentwaveblog decided to do something special for her 500th blog post. The result was an absolutely splendid post, and this is my response to it.
THE AUTISTIC PRIDE AWARD –
This section sets the scene for the remainder of the post. First here is Laina’s brief:
Whoever wants to participate, participate. I’m focusing primarily on Asperger’s/autistic people, of course, but anyone who supports autistic people and neurodiversity is welcome!
Do link back to the blogger who gave you the idea
Do link back to this blog as the original creator.
Describe a bit about yourself. However much you feel comfortable saying.
List your main “special interests” or areas of primary focus/niche specialties.
If you’re on the spectrum yourself, describe why you’re proud to be Aspergian/autistic or what you like about being Aspergian/autistic.
If you’re not on the spectrum yourself, you can use this opportunity to describe a loved one in your life who is and what makes them awesome, or you can explain what autism means to you and why you think the world would be a better place if it were to be more embracing of autism.
(Of course, you can answer more than one! For example, someone who is autistic can also describe how much better the world would be if it was more open toward autism.)
If you like, you can list other blogs or resources that are autism/neurodiversity-positive, to give them a shout-out, too.
The fact that I am writing this post demonstrates that I wish to participate (1). I was inspired the source article itself which deals with (2) and (3), and I take this opportunity to urge you not just to read Laina’s 500th post in full but also to explore her blog in more detail. Thus, the rest of this post will start with point (4) of this list.
This is my WordPress profile statement:
I am branch secretary of NAS West Norfolkand #actuallyautistic (diagnosed 10 years ago at the comparatively advanced age of 31). I am a keen photographer, so that most of my own posts contain photos. I am a keen cricket fan and often write about that subject. I also focus a lot on politics and on nature.
You can learn more about me by reading more posts on this blog, and the rest of this post. I will include photos that relate to some of my interests, and links to other blogs the relate to my interests.
Photography – as many of the posts on this blog show. There are many photographic blogs that I could link to here, but I have chosen just one, Cindy Knoke’s, from which I choose to feature a post titled “Gorgeous Greece & Her Beautiful Islands“. Here is one of my fairly recent photographs:
Public Transport – I am the creator of a London Transport themed website, www.londontu.be, I have blogged here about many journeys, including Inlandsbanan and The Jacobite, while the photograph above was taken through the window of a moving train. Here is a public transport related photo to end this segment:
Nature and Natural History – these linked interests are lifelong. For a natural history blog I thoroughly recommend whyevolutionistrue, while for good stuff about nature I recommend Anna’s blog – this is one of her posts about nature. Here is a recent bee picture to end another segment:
Cricket – I am listening to commentary on the second T20 between England and South Africa as I write this.
Autism – kind of obvious given that I am both autistic and involved in an autism charity. Before moving on to autism related blogs I offer a link to the National Autistic Society website (it is a very useful resource). I have of course already linked to Laina’s blog at the very start of this post, and I also recommend strongly theunabashedautist, americanbadassadvocates and theinkedautist. Having (including the opening link to Laina’s blog) given shout outs to four blogs by #actuallyautistic folk I finish with a link to Autism Mom.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BEING AUTISTIC
Many of my greatest strengths, such as my computer skills, my attention to detail, my skill at taking and editing photos are a direct product of my autism. Autism is part of who I am, and never in the ten and a half years since I was diagnosed have I wished that I was not autistic. I conclude this post with a photographic collage that I used in an auction alert email sent out yesterday:
This auction was a three-day affair, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. All three days were at our premises, 5 Norwich Street, Fakenham. Our next auction will also be over a three-day period, but there will be no selling on the second day, as the third day will be at Fakenham Racecourse and we will be setting things up down there.
The setup was accomplished with no problem and the first item went under the hammer at 10AM as intended. The auction started with coins which fared reasonably well, cheques which did not, some interesting ephemera which attracted some attention, and some joint numismatic/ philatelic items which fared well. The militaria which concluded day 1’s action started very quietly but picked up again later. Here are some pictures from this day…
Lot 359, one of those joint numismatic/ philatelic items, came my way for £8. I will be going into more detail about it in a future post, but here is the shot that appeared on our slideshow…
In between moving stuff for day 2 down into the shop ready for the morrow, consuming my sandwiches and other little bits I also did some work on our next auction. Here are some pictures of items that will be going under the hammer at the end of June…
This was the quietest of the three days. It featured stamps, postal history and first-day covers. There were no room bidders, and the internet bidders did not bestir themselves and the second half of the day. However, eventually some items did sell, although it was a hugely unsuccessful day. Here are some shots taken before proceedings got underway…
There was an addition to the routine today – three large items that feature in our next auction needed to be offloaded into the shop, photographed and given lot numbers. They are now lots 791, 792 and 793 in our June auction – two dolls houses and a rocking horse:
After attending to this and to bringing down the lots for the morrow I had time for some more work on the June auction…
This final day of our sale featured postcards, cigarette & trade cards, Liebig picture cards and books to end the auction. We needed a good day, and we got one. All else was overshadowed by three postcards, lots 1038, 1039 and 1040. These were early 20th century Real Photographic (RP) cards featuring football matches. 1038 and 1039 went for £495 and £450 respectively, while lot 1040 sold for no less than £900. Most of the rest of the postcards found buyers (one postcard, an RP featuring the 1910 visit of Halley’s Comet sold to none other than science writer Ben Goldacre), the cigarette cards had some successes, and the Liebig cards fared pretty well. The books did what ordinary books usually do at auction. Here are some pictures I took early that morning:
Lot 1107 (about which much more later) went to me. Going into this auction I had a couple of other items besides the two I actually bought (for £8 each) mentally filed as possibles, but found myself obliged to ignore them since my old camera (after somewhat in excess of 80,000 pictures) had conked out, necessitating a replacement which in turn meant that I could not entertain mere ‘possibles’ at this stage. Here is the image that appeared in our slideshow:
The auction concluded, wiring tidied up and internet bidders list printed out I finished my working week by doing some more work on the June auction. Here are some of the items I imaged…