Allan Blackburn column

Allan Blackburn.
Allan Blackburn.
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Over the last two weeks I’ve talked about the different ways of buying and selling antiques.

From the sometimes stressful encounters at car boots, the temporary nature of antique fairs through to the difficulties of using the internet and the security and choice using help from experts at Antiques Centres.

But how can we talk about purchasing antiques without talking about auction houses.

Auction houses are perhaps the most complex place, but often the most exciting place, to buy and sell goods.

But a word from one who knows, this is not for the faint hearted.

Auctioneers spend much of their working lives assessing the value of possessions for probate or insurance purposes, so you are likely to get a true valuation.

Sometimes they will charge a fee for a valuation, but this can be waivered if the same item is later sold by the same auctioneer.

Once the item reaches the salesroom, a price and description are prepared.

Then the item is given a lot number and is on display prior to the auction.

In lots of ways this viewing time is the most important part of the whole process, as this is when you can take your time, examine items carefully and discover any faults.

The viewing can last for a few days before each sale, so there’s no excuse not to use this time wisely.

If you have a particular want or something that is rare or very exclusive, then an auction house is definitely the best place to buy and sell.

Remember you will have to pay 20% commission plus Vat on both goods you sell and goods you buy.

Most auctions have a minimum price requirement of £200 per item.

With modern communications of the internet and mobile phones, auction houses now reach a worldwide audience.

When two people are bidding, beware if you are buying as the price rises quickly, but if you’re selling its time to rub your hands together as the sky’s the limit.

The lot is sold once the hammer falls.

Good luck.