After weeks in lockdown, Hansons has relaunched its auctions with great success – online-only – and now it’s time to prepare our other services for take-off in a brave new world, writes Charles Hanson
On May 6-7, our Historica: Coins, Antiquities and Banknotes sales marked the beginning of a new era for the business – an era that puts the safety, health and wellbeing of clients and staff at the heart of everything we do.
Times may have changed but, as we have all shown, we can adapt to altered circumstances. And one thing's for sure, people still want to buy and sell wonderful objects. Our first online-only auction on May 6 achieved a total hammer price of £100,000 - a record-breaking figure for our Historica sales.
Now, as we move forward to relaunch all of our services, social distancing, protective clothing, sanitiser and contactless collections and valuations will be part and parcel of life at Hansons as, with Government guidance, we prepare to ease out of lockdown.
As soon as we’re given the go ahead, I will be donning my travelling gavel gear to enable me to get back on the road to offer a contactless valuation and collection service.
Both myself and colleagues will sanitise and wear gloves and protective clothing. During home visits, clients will be invited to lay their items on a table. We will respect the two-metre social distancing rule before examining objects and advising on valuations.
When items are consigned to auction, we will use our own sterile carrying cases and boxes and offer a free collection service within an eight-mile radius of our auction centres thanks to our in-house haulage team.
We know many of you have had clear-outs during this lengthy lockdown period and we want to support the general public in what has been a torrid time at home. Our clients’ financial wellbeing is important to us and our summer sales will offer people the opportunity to turn unwanted items into cash.
If you reap the benefit of our free collection service, I will be inviting donations to carers’ association charities operating in the counties we serve to help carers look after people who need support in their homes.
As my April charity shed auction - which raised £38,000 for the NHS - demonstrated, I’m keen to do all I can to help people during this pandemic. I’ve been particularly alarmed by the impact of this dreadful virus on the elderly. They make up a large proportion of our client base and are close to my heart. I would like to support anyone who is unwell or finding it difficult to get out. Soaking up haulage costs in exchange for a small donation would enable Hansons to aid carers’ charities.
I have also been making plans to resume our free valuation services, which have been available throughout the lockdown via email, Skype, WhatsApp and Zoom.
When restrictions are lifted, I plan to offer free valuations at our Etwall auction centre by appointment-only. These meetings will be one-to-one, the two-metre distance rule will be respected and clients will be invited to place their objects on a sterile table.
In addition, Hansons will be offering appointments for free valuations seven days a week including a Sunday service from 10am-2pm.
Ultimately, I want to do all I can to offer our normal services in these difficult times and to enable clients who’ve had a spring clean, or simply have something they want to sell, to access expert advice at a time to suit them.
Our valuation services will also be available at Bishton Hall, our country house saleroom at Wolseley Bridge, Staffordshire. Bishton, a Georgian mansion, has ample space to store items. Here, we can offer a sterilised space to allow contactless drop-off.
If you have smaller items to sell, such as jewellery, watches, coins or books, another option is to post them to us using recorded delivery. Simply email images and details beforehand to enable us to advise if the object is suitable for auction.
In addition, both jewellery expert Kate Bliss and I will be available to do contactless home visits in and around Derbyshire and neighbouring counties. Plus, I am taking advance bookings for clients who require house clearance or downsizing quotes.
There is much to do but, together, I am sure we can work together to ensure a safe and secure environment for all concerned.
And, come what may, you can always enjoy the auction fun online. For many years, Hansons has offered live bidding online and the vast majority of clients buy this way. Our catalogues are online and you can bid in advance or live during the sale if you register with www.hansonslive.co.uk.
We also have an in-house postage department. These important aspects of our business have now come into their own as we adapt to changing a world.
I hope you are staying safe and well and look forward to meeting many of you in the not too distant future. To find out more or to make an appointment, please email: [email protected].