UK Regional Houses Have Positive 2011

The Antiques Trade Gazette has a good article on the success of regional auction houses in the UK.  Despite poor economic condition, many of the regional have seen their sales increase, although 2010 was a very good year and hard to follow in some instances.  Many regional salesrooms did well with Asian sales as well.

Overall I think this is good news, but I do wonder if the strong sales are based upon the quantity of sales as opposed to increasing values and quality sales.

The ATG reports

Commenting on the wider marketplace in his capacity as chairman of the Society of Fine Art Auctioneers, Mr Viney said: "Auctioneers often do quite well in times of financial recession and I have been getting pretty positive reports in 2011 from our members. Obviously, all of us have been cashing in on the boom in Asian art, though I thought it was notable in the November sales (both in London and the regions) that the Chinese were a little more circumspect and selective in their bidding.

"Another aspect I have noticed in the last few months is that English furniture has become more sought after, though whether this is merely a blip or represents an encouraging emergence from the doldrums of the last few years, it's difficult to say.

"However, in the coming year we may well be entering uncharted territory and I think it would be a very brave – or foolish – man to start making bullish predictions about 2012. Certainly at Woolley & Wallis we have no great expansion plans and will be aiming to contain our costs while maintaining a first-rate service to our clients."

Helped by the underlying strength of gold and silver prices, hammer sales at Fellows of Birmingham were a fraction over £10m, a 27 per cent growth on the previous year. Director Stephen Whittaker told ATG that much of the growth had come from the watch department, although all aspects of the business had showed increases on the previous 12 months. The firm has already scheduled a calendar of 65 sales for 2012.

At Tennants of Leyburn, sales were an impressive £12m, matching the record numbers of the previous year and an increase of £2m on equivalent figures in 2007 and 2009, while Sworders posted total sales of £8.4m, up from £7.2m in 2010.
Source: The Antiques Trade Gazette

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