Once it’s Gone it’s Gone!

By Yolande Hobbs

I have to say that when Yoyo told me she’d be going over to England for just four short little days, simply to sit at an auction for one of them, all to gather data for her Senior Project, my first thought was: “Why would you even go to an auction house?” (which was rather inexcusable as an art history student). My second was: “That’s dedication right there.” My third: “Maybe I’ll get a weird antique gift?” You know guys, the benefits of having a best friend who might just end up an auctioneer could be endless….

-Alice Fournier, Arts & Culture section editor


Thinking of something different to do during the next Spring break? Why not pop down and visit your local auction house? Auction houses may not be the first thing to come to your mind when you’re thinking of something fun to do over your break. However, here’s why shouldn’t dismiss the idea so fast.

  1. Auctions are fun and entertaining.

Yes, you read right: auction houses can be “fun”. Most of us have a preconceived idea that they are stuffy old places. This might have been true in the past but now auction houses are up-tempo places with hundreds of artefacts being sold in every session. Bidding on an item for the first time can be super exciting: you enter a battle zone, with up to two or three other people all bidding for the same item. In fact, even if you are not bidding on an artefact, you will still be enormously entertained watching other bidders go into battle.

  1. You will gain knowledge.

Going to an auction house, you will invariably expand your antiquing repertoire. Auction houses are a little like museums… but better, since the items on display are constantly changing. It’s also a great way to acquire knowledge about how much antiques can really cost: for example, how a 1930’s silver teaspoon will fetch 10 euros, whereas a signed photograph of Winston Churchill will reach up to 2500 euros.

  1. You might come away with a bargain.

There are a lot of different types of sales in auction houses, of which the most common are fine art sale, collector sale, and general sales. Fine art sales, like those by Christie’s or Sotheby’s, will most probably be a tad out of budget for a student, but a general sale will sell items anywhere in between 5 and 80 euros. Besides, auction houses usually do not put their general sales online; so if you’re there, you will definitely walk away with a good deal. You can then sell on what you have bought in the hope of making a profit or simply come away with something special to remind you of your first bid.

So why not try something new and go down to your local auction house sometime? Contrary to popular beliefs, they actually are fun places where you can expand your knowledge about the antique world and where you can even bag yourself a bargain. With auction houses being more accessible now than ever before, there has never been a better time try something new.


Yolande Hobbs, Class of 2020, is an Antiquities, Art History and Rhetoric major from Bristol, United Kingdom.



Image credit: https://wps-static-williampittsothe.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Auction_house-paddle-bid.jpg


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