The lockdown boom in an empty room | The Critic


Writing for The Critic magazine, Clive Aslet explores how the Covid-19 pandemic has reset the rules of the traditional auction industry. He writes that auction houses:

"... wanted to refresh the gene pool by reaching the young thrusters of software, biotech and finance.

"These are people who may not naturally wear ties and could have been brought up on Beyoncé, not Bach. They needed an introduction to the joy of collecting — but how to hook them?... the pandemic brought an answer to that. Live bidding online."

He adds, "the Antiques Trade Gazette played a blinder by founding the online auction site in 2006. It provides a platform for auction houses which lack the prestige and resources of big names. These previously obscure local businesses have suddenly been able to reach a national if not global audience, boosted by the closure of the country’s antique shops. So when the website was launched on the stock market earlier this year, its sale price leapt by a third on the first day, lifting the company’s value from £600 million to £800 million".