it seems like I was saying that just 6 months ago!
So another year passes and of course a time to reflect.
Firstly, I would like to thank you all for another record year! Not a huge increase in sales over 2010, but an increase never the less. Also a record year for the numbers attending our sales, and of course a record year for the traffic to this website.
We sold 8169 lots this year, and that gives me a pretty good idea of what is “hot” and what is “not”. Keep in mind that most antique items fit into the “decorative” category. Trends in decorating change, and the antique market is not immune to that. Naturally prices fluctuate depending on demand. Many older collectors are now downsizing, and there is an abundance of some items coming onto the market. That of course will affect the selling price if suddenly there is an over abundance of a certain type of item.
Many younger buyers are renting or living in smaller homes than their parents did, and they may not have the need for larger pieces of furniture. Compact, practical items may be what they are looking for. Back in the 1980’s and 90’s many people were trying to fill very large homes. The demand for big pieces was strong…think of the people trying to fill large foyers in their homes. Now many of those people are downsizing, so that again will affect value and demand.
Unusual, quality items, still will sell well. If it is an “upgrade” item, there is still strong demand.
This year I noticed an increase in the attendance at our auctions, and also an increase in the number of new faces. That is very important in this business, and I work very hard to make sure I am constantly reaching new people.
I want people to enjoy their time at our auctions. We try and keep them fast paced and entertaining. An auction should be an interesting event, and something people look forward to attending. If you can spend a day or night at an auction, have fun and get some great deals, than I consider that a win-win situation!
Looking ahead to the new year, I am working on a few changes. Of course I am trying to eliminate the low demand items and work on upgrading the quality of the auctions. When I look at the average price per lot, we have seen a 40% increase over the last 5 years. Of course that doesn’t mean a $100 item now sells for $140. What it indicates is, the quality of the items and therefore the average selling price is increasing. That is the direction I want to go in, and I am doing whatever I can to make that happen.
Every year I say I want to make the sales smaller, so for the record I will say that again. However, don’t hold me to it! My staff just roll their eyes and mutter when I say I am going to try and do that. Maybe this year I will surprise them!
One of the positive comments I often get is regarding the photos I post on-line. I spend a lot of time on the photos, and probably much more time than most auctioneers would. However, they have become one of the trademarks of my business, and I am not planning to change that. I present our auctions in a very visual way, rather than a very detailed text oriented way. That’s why I have photos of past auctions results, video presentations etc. I want people to be able to watch the sale develop on-line through the photos. You can keep checking this website right up to a few days before the sale, and will almost always see additional photos.
So in summary, I am anticipating an interesting year in 2012. I have a gut feeling there is going to be some big changes in the local auction business. I can’t totally express why I think there are going to be some big changes, but it is just a feeling I have. Let’s wait and see.
However, on our part I will continue to work hard to bring you the best auctions I can. I will try and make them entertaining and interesting, and something you look forward to attending!
Have a great new year!
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