A decision to merge the latest technology with traditional ideas has delivered a £1 million prize - the best auction result ever - for Hansons Auctioneers.
The firm, which first launched in Derbyshire in 2005 and expanded to London in January 2018, decided to hold its Autumn Fine Art Auction, which included selling the entire contents of Staffordshire mansion Bishton Hall, at the atmospheric Georgian property.
The auction of the contents and fine art stock combined smashed the £1 million barrier and provided Hansons with its most successful auction to date.
Rik Alexander, Hansons’ head of operations, explained why the decision was taken: “We wanted to bring back the days of the traditional country house sale on location.
“There was a time when it was quite normal to hold auctions at properties. People would follow the auctioneer from room to room as he sold objects.
“This type of sale was killed by the internet but we decided to take the technology with us to location and bring back the tradition thanks to new technology.
“It was a huge success with more than 1,000 people flocking to the event. There were huge crowds on both viewing and sale days including many people who used to go St Bede’s School, which once occupied Bishton Hall.
“These days we see fewer people in salerooms as many people choose to bid live online but auctioneers miss the atmosphere generated by a crowd.
“The success of this event proves people still thoroughly enjoy attending an auction in person, especially when they have the opportunity to browse prospective purchases in an impressive period property. People love the drama and atmosphere of a traditional country house location auction.
“At Bishton, visitors could brows items in situ in the mansion then join the auctioneer at a pavilion in the grounds for the actual sale.”
The six-day auction, which ran between October 10-19, involved moving all items in Hansons’ Jewellery, Fine Art and Library Auction to the Wolseley Bridge property. There were more than 4,500 lots in the sale, including the contents of Bishton Hall.
“It was a massive logistical task but our team pulled together to create what turned out to be an exceptional sale for all concerned,” said Mr Alexander.
“In recent years, Hansons has held records for the number of bidders registered with www.the-saleroom.com where auctions are broadcast live. We’d already succeeded in attracting 1,550 bidders but the Bishton Hall event totally smashed that total with the number of registered bidders reaching 2,983.”
Online bidders included 2,084 registered on Fine Art sale days, 300 for the Attic Sale and 599 for the Bishton Hall Contents Auction.
Top selling lots from the rostrum included a fine late 17th century Thomas Tompion bracket clock, sourced in Derbyshire, which sold for £200,000; a first edition of The Wealth of Nations, which made £65,000, and a 1958 series one Land Rover which fetched £19,000.
Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons, said: “We were delighted by the success of this sale. Hansons now plans to hold more auctions on location. There is clearly an appetite for it and it’s beneficial for our vendors as buyers are inspired when they see objects in their original setting in a fine country property.”
The country house sales division of Hansons is already booking auction events for 2019. To find out more, email [email protected] or call 01283 733988.