AN AUCTIONEERS which pre-coronavirus regularly held valuation days in south Warwickshire has been thinking outside the box.
Hansons Auctioneers – owned by Bargain Hunt favourite Charles Hanson – was forced to temporarily shut its auction houses in Staffordshire, Derbyshire and London when the country went into lockdown.
It responded by launching virtual valuations online and in May began holding auctions digitally.
Charles Hanson said: “It’s been a rollercoaster ride but we’ve adapted to the changing circumstances every step of the way and I’m delighted we’ve been able to continue to serve our customers.
“We were well placed to restart our auctions as all sales are broadcast live online and we have our own bidding platform. This means people can bid from the comfort of their armchair – and they do. Our auction relaunch in May was a huge success. It achieved record-breaking results and attracted keen buyers from across the world.
“The only difference was we could no longer invite the public into the saleroom, either to bid or preview sales. But our catalogues are available to browse online and we offer enhanced pre-sale condition reports on lots including video, if requested, and images.
“The more testing issue was to ensure our free valuation service could continue safely. We had to think out of the box. After careful consideration, we placed a large marquee outside our Derbyshire saleroom to allow valuations in an airy, open space with gloves, masks and sanitiser provided and social distancing respected.
“The ample outdoor space at Bishton Hall, our country house auction saleroom at Wolseley Bridge, also enabled Hansons to offer free, safe valuations. Auction and valuation events with TV antique show personalities have taken place at Bishton this summer.
“As soon as it was safe to do so, Hansons relaunched its free home-visit valuation service. Our valuers visit homes by appointment across the West Midlands, Warwickshire and beyond with all safety precautions respected.
“This has enabled us to source lots for auction while helping hundreds of people sell objects they no longer need. I’m mindful of the fact that the impact of the pandemic means many people wish to sell to free up finances or find new homes for objects uncovered during lockdown clear-outs.
“The final piece of the jigsaw which has underpinned our success is our long-established in-house postage department. It dispatches up to 150 parcels a day all over the world to buyers. Contactless appointments are available for collection of larger items.
“All this enables us to continue to serve clients in these difficult times and we’re delighted to do so. I would urge anyone in need of a free valuation, house clearance or downsizing services to contact us.”