Find out about our day at the live antiques auction July 22, 2017 22:26 3 Comments

If you love a good market, you'll most likely enjoy going to a live antiques auction. Yesterday we went to one looking for Mid Century ceramics , rare posters and some cutlery. We did find some real gems and it was a lovely afternoon, so I thought I'd describe what it's like to go and bid at one.

Henry Aldridge and Son

It's not fancy but it is fun!

Mr London Craft Club is a dealer in antique posters which means we regularly find ourselves at auctions around the country looking for rare posters.  This Saturday we visited Henry Aldridge and Son Auction Rooms in Devizes, Wiltshire, looking for posters for him and any nice little gems for me. We drove to Devizes and while I drove, Mr LCC bid on, and won some, cutlery using The (a way to bid online at live auctions)

Mr Bownes looking casual while bidding

Mr LCC looking casual as he bids

When you arrive you have to register, and  then you're issued a bidding number to wave around. But don't wave it around unless you really mean to buy, as once your bid is accepted, you will be invoiced and there's no going back! To bid on something, raise your number for the auctioneer to see - be quick as he does around 100 lots per hour! This is also a good rule of thumb if you only want to see one or two lots, then you don't have to be there all day and you can work out what time to rock up. 



Lot 376 a necklace by Graham Watling, British Silversmith. Mine all mine!!! 

There will be people bidding on the phone and on the internet, so it moves really fast. If you win, hold your number up again so they can take a note of who won that lot.

One of the best things about vintage or antiques is that your money goes so much further. Good stuff isn’t gong for peanuts, but it’s often better quality than new items at the same price. Plus it has a story, a provenance, all of it’s own. eBay can be a good way to buy - but you can't see your potential purchases in the flesh. With vintage that's really important… as I was reminded this weekend! And as with markets and charity shops, you need to be ready to rummage.

Random stuff at the auction

 A mix of bonkers tat and total gems (depending on your opinion!)


When we got there, we looked out the posters we’d come to see and then browsed the sale room for things that might not have stood out in the catalogue. We also had a look at our internet-won cutlery, which turned out to be a pile of total tat. That’s what you get for not viewing it in person!

Some sweet mustard spoons

Actually, when we got home we found some lovely little silver mustard spoons that made up for how awful and knackered the knives were!  

There were also a couple of totally wonderful finds. We bought 6 pieces of ceramics by Penelope Ellis, daughter of Mid Century Modern design power-couple Rosemary and Clifford Ellis.

One huge tip is to remember you pay about 21% extra on top of what you bid because of commission and VAT. You can also be charged about 3% extra for bidding on line. And if you buy something big, don't forget you may need it delivered. A courier from Devizes to London - ouch... 

  Lovely ceramics

Posters, bowls, plates, vases, and the rubbish cutlery


 Edward Lear prints hand coloured by Rosemary Ellis

A print by Edward Lear the writer, poet and author


Vase by Inge Lisa Koeford

Inge Lisa Koeford vase. It's looking down from a shelf at me now with it's two mad eyes!

Elvis's PJs

 Elvis Presley wore these hideous PJs for one week while he was in hospital. They made £8,000 yesterday. I am stunned.

 At the end of the day, you pay for your stuff at the saleroom office, and they give you a slip to prove you've paid. Then you can pick up your stuff, and race home to play with it all! Buying at auction is fun, competitive and you can get anything from a great bargain to a total ripoff! 

Both Mr LCC and I have one big tip tip. Buy for love not money. You can't predict the market, but if you love it, you'll love living with it. 

Have you ever been to a live auction? Do you think it sounds a bit scary or would you be happy to go for it?