Take the sustainable option – buy at auction

Whether you’re looking for fashion, furniture or watches, buying preloved items at auction is always a sustainable choice compared to buying newly manufactured goods.

George III mahogany chest of drawers

A George III mahogany chest of drawers from c.1780 – estimated at £500-800 at Dreweatts

To mark World Environment Day on June 5, here we take a look at these three areas and focus on the way that buying items at auction can reduce your carbon footprint and help the environment.

Antiques are Green

It sounds obvious – if you buy an antique or vintage item, no trees have to be cut down, no new materials have to be used and there’s no pollution from the industrial process required to make it.

Buying antique, vintage and second-hand items not only therefore reduces carbon emissions but also reduces landfill and cuts down on the transportation of new goods from abroad.

Indeed the antiques trade has been described as ‘the oldest recycling business in the world’ and yet it also fulfils the modern mantra – 'sustainable, re-usable and re-saleable'.

Vintage Fashion

More and more people are now looking for ethical options when it comes to buying clothes. Vintage clothes and accessories like handbags are now a major recycling industry and plenty of items are offered at auctions on thesaleroom.com every week.

Buying pre-owned items is a way to limit your carbon footprint as well as a cheaper option for acquiring certain brands and lines. According to researchers, such as the statistics complied by GlobalData, if everyone bought just one used clothing item in a year, it would save £449m of waste annually.

Designer brands are available to buy pre-owned on thesaleroom.com, often at much more affordable price-points to newly manufactured products, and here are a few examples to give you a flavour of what's currently coming up.

This Chanel handbag offered at Fellows on June 7 has an estimate of £450-650. It was made between 2006-08 and is called the Medallion Tote handbag.

Chanel handbag

A Chanel Medallion Tote handbag estimated at £450-650 at Fellows on June 7.

This Hermès silk scarf is also estimated at a much lower price point that if it were new.

Hermès scarf

A 'Petite Main' silk scarf, designed by Caty Latham for Hermès estimated at £120-180 at Fellows on June 7.

This 'Petite Main' Hermès silk scarf, designed by Caty Latham, is also coming up at Fellows on June 7 is estimated at £120-180.

Another famous French designer brand is Louis Vuitton. This coin purse is a limited edition Louis Vuitton Takashi Murakami Cerise purse. It is estimated at £80-120 at Catherine Southon on June 9.

Louis Vuitton coin purse

A Louis Vuitton Takashi Murakami Cerise coin purse estimated at £80-120 at Catherine Southon on June 9.

Clothes and shoes are also great value at auction.

These Caterpillar boots Cat women's leather boots (size 5) are new with a box have no reserve price or estimate and will be offered at Cottees on June 5.

Caterpillar boots

These Caterpillar boots have no reserve price or estimate at Cottees on June 5.

This pre-owned biker leather jacket is estimated at just £200-400 at Duke’s on June 10.

Leather jacket

A leather jacket estimated at £200-400 at Duke’s on June 10.

Furniture

When it comes to furniture it’s a case of ‘Buy antique, Be green’.

An independent report by Carbon Clear in 2010 confirmed that a piece of antique furniture is likely to have a carbon footprint 16-times lower than that of a newly manufactured item.

The older the piece, the lower its carbon footprint. This is due to both its initial construction and long lifetime of use. Antique pieces are built to last and can have many owners over the course of their lifetime.

George III mahogany chest of drawers

A George III mahogany chest of drawers from c.1780 – estimated at £500-800 at Dreweatts

Hundreds of such pieces of antique furniture are offered every week on thesaleroom.com, including high quality and superbly constructed examples such as this George III mahogany chest of drawers from c.1780 that is estimated at £500-800 at Dreweatts on June 9.

View the catalogue entry for this chest of drawers on thesaleroom.com.

David Linley desk

A small computer desk by David Linley – estimated at £600- 800 at Dreweatts.

With many people working at home at the moment, this small computer desk by David Linley, the Queen’s nephew and furniture maker, could be a great sustainable option. It has a leather inlay and pull out keyboard tray, and is estimated at £600- 800 at Dreweatts on June 15-16.

View the catalogue entry for this small computer desk on thesaleroom.com.

Oak refectory dining table

An English oak three-plank refectory dining table – estimated at £300-500 at Tennants.

Whether you’re looking for big tables or small ones you’re certain to find the perfect sustainable option by using our search box. Here’s an example of a large English oak three-plank refectory dining table. Made by Acorn Industries (it has a recessed carved acorn trademark), it measures 6ft (1.83m) long and is estimated at £300-500 at Tennants on June 19.

View the catalogue entry for this English oak dining table on thesaleroom.com.

Watches

A recent article on the Watchpro website stated that “mechanical watches are about as sustainable a durable good as the world has ever produced. Many timekeepers from the 18th century are still ticking and, unlike today’s washing machines, the mechanics of a modern day automatic are likely to keep working with little or no maintenance for decades.”

The sustainability factor of buying watches at auction combines with the fact that preloved watches can be purchased at a significantly cheaper price than at retail, making them an ideal choice for many buyers.

Plenty of options are available on thesaleroom.com including many by the famous brands like Rolex, Omega, Patek Philippe, Tag Heuer and Cartier.

Omega de Ville watch

A gentleman’s Omega de Ville wristwatch – estimated at £200-300 at Thomas R. Callan.

An example is this gentleman’s nine-carat Omega de Ville wristwatch with a champagne dial. It is estimated at £200-300 at Thomas R. Callan on June 11-12.

View the catalogue entry for this Omega de Ville watch on thesaleroom.com.

Another famous brand is Longines and various models appear regularly at auctions on this website. The sale at Lyon & Turnbull on June 9 includes examples of both gentleman’s and lady’s watches from the historic Swiss maker.

View the catalogue entry for the Longines gentleman’s watch and the Longines lady’s watch on thesaleroom.com.

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