Hammer to fall again – virtually!

Sue Cade
Authored by Sue Cade
Posted Wednesday, June 10, 2020 - 10:11am

Responding to a ‘pent up demand’ from buyers and vendors alike, Chilcotts Auctioneers, in Silver Street, Honiton is to hold its first sale since lockdown measures were introduced.

The sale on June 20 includes a superb collection of high quality items including Chinese ceramics, bronzes and Staffordshire pottery from the estate of a local collector, well known to the Chilcotts team.

Appropriately, one of the star lots is Angels, a signed Beryl Cook print showing nurses cheerfully attending to a hospital patient. Chilcotts will donate the commission from the sale of this picture to Honiton Hospital League of Friends.

Although the Silver Street saleroom won’t be open for the auction itself, auction-goers can bid using two live online bidding platforms. Pre-sale, there will be timed viewing slots available for those wanting to take a close look at lots at the saleroom, where Chilcotts has put in place strict safety measures.

Liz Chilcott explained: “The whole team had an in-depth Zoom meeting to carry out a risk assessment for every area of the business.

“As a result, gazebos are being put up at the entrances with hand sanitizer and disposable masks for customer use, plus we will have disinfectant doormats. Saleroom staff will be protected Perspex screens while the porters, who may need to carry heavier items together, will have face shields as well as masks.”

For viewings there will be a single entrance where a catalogue and bidding sheet ‘pack’ will be available, with lots in numeric order and a one way system guiding people around the sale room. Bidding slips can be posted in a box on the way out, or bids can be made online.

Chilcotts is mindful that some customers wanting to consign items for sale and needing valuations are often older and more vulnerable. Auctioneer, Duncan Chilcott says the company has looked into options for ‘virtual’ valuations to minimise on the necessity for contact. “After testing the different technologies available, we decided that WhatsApp offers the best quality image enabling us to provide an informed valuation. This has proved really successful so far, with customers using their camera phones to show us the items to value.”

Duncan adds that while some might view auctioneering as a non-essential activity, Chilcotts provides an important service to the public. “Programmes like ‘Bargain Hunt’ and ‘Flog It’ often portray our business as frivolous - but most people don’t realise that as well as selling antiques and other items, we also provide an important service for probate and house clearance.

“A good example is an elderly lady who had to move into a care home; she urgently needs to sell not just her house but the contents too, to fund the care home costs. There’s also the issue of security for the possessions of someone who had died and whose house is left empty and vulnerable to thieves.”

For more information on the upcoming sale including the online catalogue, or if you have something to sell,  visit chilcottsauctioneers.co.uk

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