Antiques & Collectables
This group is interested in learning about all aspects of the world of Antiques & other Collectables. The members are all expected to undertake research and present their findings to the group, however no prior knowledge or expertise is required. Occasional visits may take place to museums and fairs. If you are interested in joining contact Malcolm Blain using 'contact' button.
The U3A Collectables & Antiques Group held its most recent meeting at the Chalkwell Auction Rooms, on the Temple Farm Industrial Estate, off Sutton Road, and opened the visit to all members of the Thorpe Bay U3A who wished to attend.
We arrived around 13:30 and spent a short time inspecting items that were to be included in the auction on the following Thursday. The auctioneer, Trevor Cornforth, gave us an insight into the business process of the auction and why, he believes, it achieves the best price for the seller and a true value for the buyer. Prices sought on auction sites, like eBay, tend to lead to sellers having unrealistic expectations, as they can be totally arbitrary...an item is only worth what it can actually be sold for.
Among a range of subjects, he explained how the different ways of stating the gold or silver content of an item varies throughout the world. This can limit the markets available to say, a nine carat gold brooch, as that particular rating is not officially recognised in the USA and so would be more difficult to sell there. Other topics included the UK's hallmark system and the subject of fakes. Sometimes an item is produced specifically to deceive a buyer, but more often they are just made, at a later date, in the style of an earlier era.
We were shown the technology behind online sales (Chalkwell Auction tracks three online bidding sites) and the effort that is made to stop runaway prices if numerous bidders press the bid button at the same time. When selling items of worldwide interest, the auctioneer may be taking bids from all three systems, pre-sale commission bids, a number of phone bids, as well as from people in the crowded sale room, so he has to be on his toes.
As part of the afternoon, Trevor examined and evaluated a number of items that people had brought along, suggesting how they might be sold (individually or grouped, specialist sale) to achieve the best price for the seller. In addition to this, he offered a special low seller's commission rate if any of those present wished to use his services.
The afternoon was brought to a close with tea and some delicious cakes from one of the group members and everyone agreed that it was a very enjoyable, informative afternoon.
Our next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 24th July 2019.