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Graham Awards


Covid Crisis: No physical auctions this year for top auctioneer

One of the country’s top auctioneers is not going to stage any ballroom auctions this year - and it’s keeping its 2022 programme under review as well.

Clive Emson, one of the UK’s top five auction houses, says all sales this year will be held online. 

There are 101 lots listed in Clive Emson’s first auction of this year, with the bid timers ending on Wednesday, February 10.


Managing director James Emson stresses that safety lies behind the decision to because of the ongoing pandemic.

“Even if restrictions are lifted in the next six to nine months, with the demographics of attendees being from 18 to 90, it would be putting too many people at risk, both those coming along and our staff who have worked amazingly with such dedication through a difficult 12 months” he says.

He claims the switch to online sales, brought in last spring because of the first lockdown, has been well received even from traditional ballroom auction attendees.

“A year on, even the most cynical are making the most of the freedom and results online auction are providing.

“We have seen a massive, unprecedented shift from the traditional ballroom to purely online auctions, something none of us would have predicted a year ago.

“It still carries the same emotions - apprehension for those who have never bought or sold by auction, excitement as your lot reaches its reserve and bidding continues, nervousness as you submit your bid, elation as your bid is the highest and disappointment when you are outbid.

“Even the trusted gavel has become a virtual one.”

Clive Emson has also increased its number of walk-around videos on as many lots as possible, giving further insight to the layout and condition of properties.

“Again, this has been well received in many cases, especially with occupied properties where viewings are not possible due to ensuring tenants and sellers remain safe.”

He adds: “We really do appreciate that we have been able to operate during the lockdowns and the trust our clients placed, and continue to place, in us to sell their land and property.

“We have been overwhelmed by the level of interest from prospective buyers in all sectors, whether they are looking for vacant residential or commercial premises, tenanted properties, garages, ground rents or land.”

Last year Clive Emson raised over £126m through sales, including more than £15.5m in December alone.


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