Surrey Auction house moves Business Online

Surrey auction house Ewbank’s has announced that it will transfer all of its sales online as business continues during the coronavirus outbreak.

Auctioneer Chris Ewbank said businesses that can continue safely under guidelines can help the Government and the economy, and that Ewbank’s has devised a series of solutions that allow sales and valuations to continue online.

A pink ground, famille rose medallion bowl
A pink ground, famille rose medallion bowl, consigned from a private UK collection. Estimate £1,000 to £2000 to be sold on April 30

The auctioneer has made arrangements to continue its calendar of sales completely online and, following a number of requests from the public, is offering online valuations of items. It has come to an agreement with a local specialist shipping business to provide a safe and secure delivery service for buyers once purchases have been paid for.

The auction house is also offering to store items for free until buyers are allowed to claim them in person from its Burnt Common Auction Rooms, provided they are paid for within seven days of purchase.

“A by-product of the lockdown is that people have started to go through what they have stored in their attics,” said Chris Ewbank. “Some of it they want to donate to charity, but if they think they may have something of more value, they have been contacting us to see if we can help, and we are happy to do so.”

Reflecting on the importance of technology to his business, he added: “If the pandemic had happened even five years ago, we would probably not have been able to set up the facilities for continuing in business during the emergency lockdown as we have now. Fortunately, online bidding and valuation technology is pretty advanced these days, and with a safe and secure means of fulfilling purchase agreements we have a viable means of continuing to service our customers.”

Options include holding live online sales behind closed doors, with no physical public access, in the same way as Ebay do.

The team at Ewbank’s will continue to monitor developments closely, and Mr Ewbank said the health and safety of his staff and the public were paramount, and these would be the primary drivers in any decision making.

Ewbank also believes that businesses that can continue to operate under strict Government safety guidelines. “While we may be forced to apply for aspects of the Government’s support package, we are keen to keep offering a viable service where we can in order not to be a burden on the public purse. We also want to honour our commitments to consignors and, hopefully, in so doing to help their cashflow, as well as support our own staff.”

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