Back and raring to go

14th May 2020

“It’s been a strange seven weeks, but I’m confident that we’re coming back in a strong position, with great sales lined up.”

So said Woolley and Wallis’s Chairman, John Axford, as he unveiled the firm’s revised sale calendar for the summer of 2020.

Starting on the 17th June with the European Ceramics and Glass sale, the calendar continues into July with sales in Asian Art, Jewellery and Silver – all of which were postponed from their previous dates in April and May. The highly anticipated Furniture and Works of Art auction, for which the catalogue had already been printed, will now take place on 11th August.

“The health and wellbeing of our clients and staff remains paramount,” explained Axford, “and we have spent a long time adapting our offices and saleroom space in order that we can comply with Government guidelines and ensure that we are operating safely.”

While other salerooms have been holding online-only auctions over the past months, Axford said they were reluctant to follow the same path. “We have had resistance from some of our vendors, who didn’t want to feel that their items were being used in an auction experiment. In fact, many of the online auctions seem to have done well and I think the industry has to face up to that area becoming more dominant, but there is also a lot to be said for people being able to physically handle objects and the feedback we received was that our clients would prefer us to wait. Fortunately, we are in a strong financial position where we were able to take that option.”

As part of the social distancing measures that the firm now has to abide by, staff will be returning to work on a gradual, staggered basis from 1st June, and viewing of auctions will, for the time being, take place by appointment. “Everything is being done to ensure that we can hold auctions in as normal a fashion as possible, during a time which is very far from normal,” he continued. “I’m confident from talking to dealers and private collectors that the market is still buoyant and the cancellation of various fairs has only strengthened demand for good quality art and antiques. We can start back from this on a strong footing, and I’m very much looking forward to getting our revised sale calendar underway.”

To view the full list of sales up until the end of September, please click here.

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