Valley Friends May: The Work of an Auctioneer

From Joan Steel

Barry Twyman is an auctioneer who mostly works at Amersham Auction Rooms. He spoke enthusiastically about his work which he does for six days a week and finds it busy and most enjoyable. The techniques of selling are learned by observing what happens in the auction room, known as contact learning, although every auctioneer has his/her own style. Momentum is the key to all, as it is important to keep going and normally people are taken up into the speed of selling. It is usual to sell 150 to 160 lots per hour. Time is money.

As the market changes, it is important to have experience of fashion trends eg large heavy brown furniture is not suitable for today’s smaller homes. The auction rooms handle 4000 to7000 items per week. There may be 70-80 possible buyers in the show room but on the internet there are thousands watching and the auctioneers are literally selling to the world. The sale room has therefore to be dressed elegantly to help in attracting bidders. Items are being airmailed out during the sales. All items have to be valued and catalogued and some need to be identified as genuine by professionals.

Many other jobs need to be done before an auction starts eg by 11:30 am on Sunday morning 400 lots need to be put out for sale. Barry said that of his six days work weekly only 2 to 3 hours are actually selling time. Valuations are free and there is a team of four qualified valuers available. They also do valuations on location, visiting houses between 9am and 7pm on Wednesdays. Barry’s talk was free and all donations go to charity eg Ian Rennie Hospice.

To end the evening Barry organised a game, Heather bravely volunteered to act as auctioneer. Following questions Barry was thanked for his very lively and interesting talk.

P.S. The Workaid Collection has been postponed.

Our next meeting is on June 10th subject being “Viva Mexico” by Val Brown.