Online Bidding

Record-breaking sale marks end of Staffordshire auction house’s lockdown year

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It’s been something of a rollercoaster year for Staffordshire auctioneers and valuers Cuttlestones. With salerooms in both Penkridge and Wolverhampton MD and Head Auctioneer, Ben Gamble, spent the first lockdown figuring out how they could safely bring auctions back once restrictions eased.

May 2020 saw a tentative ‘toe in the water’ as the firm ran its first ever online-only auction, with the sale of an impressive private collection of coins amassed over a 20-year period by a single, local collector. The punt paid off, with the 149 lot-strong collection selling for a total of £60,780 on Friday 22nd May; having attracted online bidders from as far afield as the U.S.

Buoyed by this success and with its COVID-safe consignment and collection processes firmly in place, Cuttlestones went on to run its regular fortnightly Wednesday Home and Antique auctions in an online format, alongside several specialist sales throughout the year. Ben explains:

“We’ve been offering live, online bidding as an option on all our sales for several years now, and we also publish all of our sales catalogues online with extensive lot photography and condition reports, so are accustomed to selling to online bidders and shipping lots far and wide. What we weren’t sure of was how our regular ‘in the room’ bidding audience would take to online bidding or placing advance commission bids on lots they’d not been able to view in person.

“I’m delighted to say that they seemed to adapt very well, and it has been fantastic to see so many of our regular bidders register online with us. However, we have been very pleasantly surprised by the number of new bidders joining our auctions. I think during lockdown auctions offered not only the opportunity to buy items while most shops were locked down but also an exciting and different experience to traditional online shopping. This, combined with the fact that so many people used lockdown as an opportunity to do some serious DIY and update their interiors, saw what could have been a disastrous year turn into one of our busiest yet!”

And it wasn’t just bidders looking for interesting and unusual items that took advantage of the online auction process – vendors looking to cash in on everything from gold and jewellery to traditional antiques, works of art, vehicles – and pretty much everything in between – were keen to consign items for sale in COVID-safe manner.

Highlights of the past year included a specialist Jewellery Sale in September, which included a significant collection of modern designer jewellery from a local collector that sold for over £21,000, while the star of the Autumn Antiques Auction on 3rd September was a 1971 Jomoro child’s model F1 racing car which attracted a winning bid of £6,000.

Autumn also saw Cuttlestones reach out to a whole new audience for a Designer Fashion sale in conjunction with local charity Newlife; seeing over 300 brand new fashion pieces bearing top designer labels go under the hammer in support of the charity. On Wednesday, 18th November, the sale room hosted its first catalogue of over 1,000 lots in almost ten years – a record which was soundly beaten in the last Antiques & Interiors sale of the financial year on Wednesday, 24th April 2021 – which boasted 1,066 lots, ran for a marathon 10 hours and proved the auction house’s biggest ever grossing Antiques & Interiors sale!

Other highlights throughout the year included a collection of classic motorbikes selling in the November Antiques sale – including a 1955 Vincent Series D Rapide Historic model which achieved a sky-scraping £35,500! More general trends saw ‘Scandi-style’ Mid-Century modern furniture sell particularly well – with non-branded examples achieving good prices as well as big brands such as Ercol and G-Plan. On a similarly vintage note, music fans have been snapping up ‘old school’ hi-fi systems for playing their vinyl and CD collections, ‘Chintzy’ china – especially Royal Albert’s ubiquitous Old Country Roses teaware – has been selling for crazy money to the South Korean market, and gold has seen consistently high prices as investors see it as a ‘safe bet’ during uncertain times.

Cuttlestones is now set to capitalise on its lockdown success with a packed calendar of online auctions over the coming year, while keeping an eye on when and how easing restrictions will allow bidders back into the auction room.

Consignments are now being taken for future sales, with free, online valuations available by emailing images to [email protected] or by WhatsApp to 07949 603 872. For full details of how to buy and sell through Cuttlestones, head to 


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