A Somerset auction house recently held its first week of Fine Art sales since the easing of lockdown and the auctioneers at Lawrences of Crewkerne were delighted to report great successes at its rigorous socially distanced auction.
“We have always loved to draw good crowds to our sales,” said the firm’s Managing Director, Helen Carless. “A throng of bidders in a saleroom creates a brisk atmosphere and sales go well as a result. Last week, we were careful to enforce the strict distancing procedures and we imposed close monitoring of numbers coming into the building. During the auctions, chairs were placed at least two metres apart, and we did not permit more than forty people in the room at any one time. Thankfully, our clients were very compliant and they understood fully the gravity of the situation.”
With over 2000 lots on offer across three long days of auctioneering, some vendors might have been anxious that such limitations would suppress bidding but this was not the case. “On the contrary,” says Helen. “We welcomed absentee bids, telephone bidding and live online bidding through two specialist platforms that allowed people from all over the world to join in. In a great many cases, this resulted in an eager flurry of bids. So, despite the saleroom being less full than normal, we had some terrific results across all three days. The unsold rate was remarkably low: well over 85% of the lots on offer found buyers and, as so often happens, we had the pleasing outcome of delighted vendors as well as delighted buyers. Buyers spent over £1.1 million, so it was a very pleasing outcome all round.”