Thirty Years on But What Has Changed in London?

 London and United Kingdom a Country of Auctions, a Country of Opportunities

Cloudy, moody skies salute me first thing I open my eyes and looked out of the window. What a torture London’s weather can be at times. Winds howling all night, rain lashing against the window panes that suffer mercilessly the wrath of the elements. Wrapped in bed, late morning and wonder how working people get up at six am to head to work. I am sorry guys, I really am, but take courage and know well; we all did it at some point in our lives. Yes, begrudged it at times, yes loved it and enjoyed it at others but always happy and satisfied that I had a job to go to and some duty to society to try and help the young to face the future with hope and aspirations in life.

11.00am, 12th January 2015

Dared to get out of the house and already the decision is made. I will drive to a small local auction in North London. Nearly never a bargain there but, that is when the bargain appears and when everybody has said: There is nothing there, I am not going there again. Never say that. Always be positive, always hope that special something is waiting for you to own it.

Traffic!! Where has all this traffic appeared from? Rain and wind punish the small car and I feel like trembling in spite of the warm space inside the car. Slow progress and more traffic but I am determined, even though pessimistic of any bargain waiting for me. I had my bargains long time ago and when most of us were unaware of the opportunities. Nevertheless, there are still plenty out there and I am one of those still going to auctions, fairs and whatever to unearth the treasure.

No,no, No! I am not going to become a millionaire now. Who wants that curse anyway? It is the satisfaction of finding the elusive miracle. It’s the satisfaction of beating the opposition, I suppose. Still traffic and unusually a lot more than normal on my way to this auction. Cars all over. What’s happening. Nowhere to park around the auction. Then I spot it. Parking restrictions all around, newly introduced. Lash rain, lash! Blow wind, blow and vent your angers and frustrations against my car and the poor leafless trees.

Round and round the auction to find that minute parking space which finally appears just about fifty metres from the entrance to the auction. Good omen, I say but, I am not that sure what’s inside the huge hangar that has been turned into an auction some twenty years ago. No, this is not a prime auction and definetely not Christies, Sothebys or Bonhams.

Entrance unimpressive. Offices small and two or three secretaries hiding behind, at their offices. The man at the desk just inside the viewing room is cursing his luck and his being in that position. Yes, one pound sir. That is what it cost me to get the small booklet called catalogue. About five hundred items from beds, to chairs, from vases to plates, from prints to large paintings and more, plus a lot more are catalogued.

Hungry! Hungry to see Fine Art!!

I am not interested in anything else but the Fine Art of the auction which is at the far end. Will there be anything for this hunter? Impressions from the distance are good. Several big old master copies around. What are they? Where did they come from?

Interesting, indeed interesting but also big, really big for many a house anywhere. No artists attributed to. No artists signed them; no artist inscribed them. Just one clue and this is mine. They were part of a big hotel as the label on reverse said: Suite 12, suite 10 etc. They were decorating a hotel in earlier life and now up for grabs. Not for me as they are too big and I have No room for such canvases but..

At the price of 50-80 pounds, they were great investments. Sorry! Pass!! Pass and onwards to more paintings. Unknown to me. I marked down the names of three oil painting. The estimates are so rediculously low. Are they worth any money? I could not say at that moment. Not the declining memory bank but why do I have such an impressive bank resource and other available resources?

Three possible lots and I am on my way out. Stop, looked well and yes!! The candelabra, the pair of candelabra there. Exactly similar to the ones I sold some thirty years ago for 14.00 pounds. This time their estimate was 40-80 pounds. HM, not bad, had I kept them then.

I look around to see a familiar face, but No. Plenty of busy bodies and faces. Plenty of eyes with magnifying glasses checking signatures, stamps and jewellery. This is a different world; this is escape to a new world that invites you and tempts you to part with your money and acquire things you like but also hope to make money from.

Better get out of the place as the temptation kills me!!

The search continues tomorrow!!

14th January 2015

Knowledge is a valuable commodity, indeed very valuable and it usually translates into money. There were two lots of paintings that interested me but nothing to tell me that the artists were known and of merit. Lot 136 was by a Dutch artist but the books, the records said very little about him. Thus I forgot all about him and started a serious search fro the modern English artist with two pieces of good canvases in the same lot.

Paul Sutton, estimate 25-50 pounds

Two canvases of 50 x 60 cm in a good style and good landscapes. Both framed and both attractive. I liked them and so my search was thorough, Nothing here, nothing there and nothing everywhere. Did it matter? The frames were worth about 50.00 each but where is the space in the house?

Well, had the paintings been anything close to 70 x 100 I would have bought them at 100.00 and keep them for the future or re-sell them as decorative pieces. Sadly, I decided not to add two more paintings to the the so many in stock, as there is NO room for more!!

Be back next week!

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