We've expanded our building, our sales calendar and our team. Broke the record for a price on the BBC's Antiques Road Trip, linked up with Asia's largest online bidding platform, and sold some remarkable pieces including a collection of letters & autographs which featured in articles in several national newspapers and sold the contents of Thorne Court near Bury St Edmunds.
In May, we opened our new and improved Auction Centre reception, office, facilities and cataloguing areas. Despite the growth of online bidding, we are lucky enough to still welcome hundreds of clients through our doors, and our new look Auction Centre (opened by footballing legend Terry Butcher) has been appreciated by staff and visitors alike.
Within a couple of weeks of our grand opening, we had the BBC Antiques Road Trip here - and it was clear that this was going to be a particularly special episode! Amongst their experts' haul was a circa 1864 Adolphe Bertsch Chambre Automatique sub-miniature camera. This was one of the first 'automatic' cameras, and an incredibly desirable piece for photography enthusiasts and camera collectors. Added to the allure was the fact that camera came in its original case along with reagent bottles and accessories. Unsurprisingly, there was a lot of pre-sale interest and by the day of the auction we had 5 telephone lines booked and over 20 online watchers from both Europe and America. Frenzied bidding ended with a hammer price of £20,000 - a record for one of our non-specialist sales and for the programme!
Possibly, the biggest change to the auction world in recent years has been the growing prevalence of the internet - not just by enabling live bidding and fully illustrated catalogues at the click of a button, but also allowing clients from all over the world to bid in real-time at auctions. We were one of the first provincial auction houses to host all of our auctions online, and in October we partnered with ePaiLive, Asia largest online bidding platform, to translate and host our specialist auctions across Asia - over 300,000 potential bidders in the world's fastest growing Art & Antiques market!
We finished the year with a bumper four auctions over eight days - totalling almost 3000 lots. Of these; the Home & Interiors auction broke our house record, as did the Coins, Medals & Militaria auction, but the absolute star of the show was the Fine Art & Antiques auction on Saturday 9th December. This auction included much of the estate of Thorne Court near Bury St Edmunds, which was a treasure trove of quality antique furniture, the most beautiful 17th century longcase clock, stunning Chinese blue and white ceramics and a collection of very early daguerreotypes of and by Dr Alfred Swaine Taylor - otherwise known as the 'father' of forensic science but also a keen pioneer of early photography. Alongside these lots was an immaculate collection of Meissen porcelain, a collection of Victorian bookplates, and some fabulous jewellery - all in all a perfect Christmas sale and a great way for us to end the year!
Looking ahead, you will notice that there are several new auctions included in our calendar. The Art & Antiques market has become increasingly specialised, so we have created extra sales to benefit both vendors and collectors. Our first Affordable Jewellery & Watches auction in October was a great success, so we have scheduled three more for 2018. They will be joined by twice-yearly Country Pursuits (the first of which took place on Friday 8th December), and twice-yearly Music & Film Memorabilia.
This is an exciting time to be involved in the world of art & antiques, and we look forward to what 2018 may bring!