Last weekend, I went along to my first ever auction, at Christie's. I'd always been curious as to what went on at a live auction, and had always thought that it was probably very intimidating and that everyone there was a millionaire art dealer, and that if I so much as sneezed at the wrong time I'd end up bidding £1m for an ornamental dog.
I've been to Chiswick Auctions many times before on viewing days, but Christie's is in another league entirely. I also had no idea that Christie's did interiors auctions! But they do. Embarrassing. Mostly held on Tuesdays at their auction house in South Kensington. However, I went along on a Sunday to watch the first half of another sale, and have a wander round the viewing areas.
What fascinated me the most was that the majority of the bidding seemed to be taking place online - or on the phone. There were actually only a few people in the auction room itself, and the (charming) auctioneer mostly spoke above our heads - to a camera (I realised this after a few minutes of wondering if she had a problem with her neck). The pace was speedy but relaxed, and it didn't feel anywhere near as intimidating as I had anticipated. What was also interesting was that so much of the older pieces went to American bidders - they certainly love our antiques. I guess it's the Downton Abbey effect...
But best of all was the range of items on offer. Among the more, er, conservative pieces were some real gems, all guide-priced very reasonably. Albeit with Christie's sale charges yet to be added.
I especially fell in love with this beautiful shop cabinet, guided at £1,500 to £2,000. It was in pristine condition.
There were several other fab pieces that caught my eye too.
Buttoning is always a winner with me but I love this sofa most for its gold legs. Ridiculous.
These made me laugh. Possibly would look a little out of place in front of my two-bed maisonette...
If sofas could talk! Bet this has seen some interesting things.
And finally, I fell in love with this painting. I'm not much of an art fan, but I just thought it was beautiful... At £4-6,000 however, she was a little out of my price range.
I didn't buy anything as I actually need to get rid of furniture at the moment rather than acquire new pieces, but I do heartily recommend the Christie's auction if you're looking for something a little unusual that has heritage. I'm a huge fan of buying second-hand furniture - the quality of older pieces is usually far greater than anything you can buy today and prices are surprisingly reasonable.
You don't have to go to the auction itself to bid, as details of all Christie's sales are online. Definitely worth a look through the catalogues - I warn you though, it's a addictive! And don't even THINK of going near the fine jewellery catalogue...