Auctions continue online as new lockdown comes in

Although auction houses must temporarily close their premises to the public they can hold their sales online and most are doing so.

A live online only sale at David Duggleby.PNG

A live online only sale under way at David Duggleby Auctioneers in Scarborough.

Laws in each of the devolved nations of Great Britain - England, Wales and Scotland - are different but broadly all of them require auction houses, as non-essential businesses, to shut their doors and not allow members of the public inside.

However, auction houses are permitted to operate behind closed doors which means they can hold auctions online and buyers of the lots can collect the items with a Covid-secure click-and-collect arrangement or they can have the items sent to them by a delivery firm (couriers and logistics businesses are categorised as an essential service so deliveries will continue as normal).

That means there are plenty of lots to browse and bid for on

Both types of auction - timed auctions and live auctions - are still taking place. Live auctions are held as 'live online only' which means an auctioneer on the rostrum takes bids from bidders online, on the phone or on commission. No bidders will be present in the room. In timed auctions all the bidding takes place online.

The good news, such as it is, is that auction houses became highly adept at operating in this way during the lockdowns in 2020. They are able to operate their online sales - both live and timed - behind closed doors or remotely offsite and they follow the government guidance on keeping their staff safe. The current regulations also allow auction house staff to work on site to fulfil collection and delivery.

Check the list of upcoming auctions to stay up to date with any changes to the dates of the sales you are interested in. While the majority of auctions are taking place on the dates originally planned, a few have been postponed and some that were live sales may become timed auctions. We have a handy guide to bidding in timed auctions if you need to learn more about them.

You can also find auction houses on in other countries such as France or Germany. They will be abiding by the regulations in their own nations and auction houses that are permitted to hold sales are doing so while respecting the local guidance.

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