Auctions continue online as new lockdown in England takes effect

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

An auction at Bonhams on November 5

A busy time on the rostrum as a Bonhams auctioneer takes telephone and internet bids during the Fine Chinese Art sale on November 5.

The new lockdown regulations in England that run from November 5 to December 2 allow auctions to be held as long as members of public are not present and the majority of auction houses are making few if any changes to their calendar of sales.

Indeed, for the past few months many have been holding ‘live online only’ auctions - whereby bids are placed online alongside any telephone or commission bids and no bidders are allowed in the room – so they are already well prepared for the weeks ahead. They are able to operate their online sales behind closed doors or remotely offsite and they follow the government guidance on keeping their staff safe.

Collection and delivery

The new regulations also allow auction house staff to work on site to fulfil collection and delivery. This means that when you buy an item at auction you will still be able to pick it up in person with contactless collection (by following the usual Covid-secure procedures) or arrange for it to be sent to you via contactless 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 moved to December and a small number have become timed auctions rather than live auctions. We have a handy guide to bidding in timed auctions if you need to learn more about them.

In other parts of the UK and in the Republic of Ireland different regulations are in force and are subject to change but auction houses in those areas have generally been going ahead with their sales and are also using live online only or timed sales. The same applies to auction houses in a number of other countries such as in France or Germany – each nation has its own regulations and auctioneers are continuing to hold sales while respecting the local guidance.

Christmas shopping

This all means there are plenty of items coming up for sale every day on thesaleroom.com, which is particularly handy in the run-up to Christmas when many shops are closed for a month. You can browse and bid safely from home and be confident you can get the items you buy well before December 25.

During this time of year, in particular, auction houses put on special sales of wine, champagne, spirits, jewellery, silver or watches. Others will hold toys or books auctions and some even hold what they call ‘Christmas auctions’. Look out for these auctions in our listings to discover items that would make the perfect gift.

Stay safe and happy bidding!


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