Saturday, 15 March 2014

The Sleeper Is Dead

I've been doing a bit of antique hunting lately due to my experiment with selling on eBay again after an absence of several years. I'm enjoying the hunting for bargains very much and we'll see how successful I have been on the next two Sunday evenings when the eBay auctions on eight of the items I've bought and four pieces from our collection finish. When I did this as a hobby/business I used to scour the local sale rooms for pieces that had escaped the auctioneers eye (they can't be expert in everything) and sometimes I would end up with a real bargain. This is what is known in the trade as a "sleeper".

But, now that we have the internet, more and more auctioneers are putting their lots online and, instead of just a few locals casting their eyes over the lots on offer, the whole world can have a look if they wish and, whilst there are still plenty of sleepers around, the chances of you being the only one to notice them are becoming slimmer and slimmer. I mentioned earlier this week that we'd spotted two lots at the auction in Campsea Ashe with pre-sale estimates around the £100 mark that ended up selling for ten times those estimates. Yesterday I found another very interesting piece in Beccles.

I don't know anything about Japanese costume accessories but I thought these silk items were beautiful and worth a bit more than the auction estimate of £50-£70. So we logged on and followed the auction ready to bid when they came up. The bidding started at £50 and I was ready to put my £250 bid in when other internet bidders piled in. Thirty seconds later the price was £1,900 (plus about 20% commission.) The internet must be doing wonders for auctioneers' commissions but the poor local dealers' chances of finding a sleeper have all but disappeared. What I need to find now are some good old fashioned auctioneers who haven't yet found their way online.

In other news, we weren't happy with the frame on this painting in the dining room. The black looked really stark and shouted out too much so when we saw an advert for framer Hamish Bell in the About Fram newsletter we gave him a ring to ask what ideas he could come up with. We weren't disappointed. Whilst we would have been happy to have the painting reframed, Hamish suggested re-painting the frame instead.

Here is the result. The frame no longer screams at us and the painting looks so much better. Thanks Hamish.

We had some friends around for dinner last night. I thought the table settings looked great. I think our guests enjoyed themselves as it was after two when they left - it was almost three when we had finished the clearing up.

I'll end today with this. We saw it at the cinema the other night. It's right up my street.