Excitement of Online Auctions in New Lockdown

William Rowsell conducting a specialist sale of Furniture and Works of Art before an audience of online, commission and telephone bidders in Toovey’s Boardroom

Gosh what a difference a couple of weeks can make! As I write this we are all coming to terms with a new period of national lockdown. At Toovey’s we have been able to move our winter series of specialist auctions online with click and collect. In recent weeks we have gathered the collecting community online through tooveys.com.

Over many years Toovey’s have invested heavily in their website and online marketing. During the Covid-19 outbreak we have seen members of the public, who would never have embraced the technology, migrating online.

I have always loved the sense of anticipation, excitement and energy of an auction day and a room full of bidders. But our most recent specialist auctions during lockdown also gave cause for much excitement and a glimpse of an evolving new normal.

The salerooms were beautifully laid out with an abundant array of furniture, books, toys and objects for people to view safely by appointment. But as the lockdown took effect the salerooms took on a stillness without the usual crowd of auction goers.

We set the rostrum at Toovey’s boardroom table as the world joined in the bidding action online, with competition from telephone and absentee commission bidders. Despite the sudden change the sales all quickly took on the energy and excitement of a traditional auction day as William’s gavel rose and fell and prices exceeded pre-sale expectations.

I think that many of us felt a little covid-fatigued after the Prime Minister’s announcements of a new national lockdown. But these auctions seemed to give expression to the indefatigable, hopeful spirit of the British in the face of challenge as we sought to support the government, protect our community and press on safely. And prices remained higher than before lockdown. Clients continue to sign up for auction updates and catalogues which are constantly changing at tooveys.com with fantastic illustrations and condition reports for virtual viewing.

‘Click and Collect’ at Toovey’s

People complimented us on our new ‘click and collect’ service for items purchased at the auctions. I couldn’t help but smile when I overheard one client saying “Toovey’s must be the poshest click and collect venue in the county!”

Until lockdown is lifted we can no longer welcome people at the salerooms except for ‘click and collect’. But people have been delighted to discover that they can email images for online valuations or book a home visit. I am still visiting people in their homes in line with government guidance, providing valuations and advice for auction, probate and insurance.

Online is an incredible blessing in these times but real life human encounters are still vital. I hope that the ‘R’ number willing I will soon be able to welcome you once again here at the salerooms. Until then I look forward to seeing you online and at your homes.