Bargain hunters buck the online trend at Fernhurst auction

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THE internet may be king these days, but the latest sale at John Nicholson’s Fernhurst saleroom proved that turning up in person to bid is still very much part of the game.

Between the crowd in the room and a few hundred internet and phone bidders, antique bargain hunters bucked the trend for online bidding.

The sales, held every six weeks at the Fernhurst auction rooms, regularly attract a loyal following. However, in recent years, Nicholson’s reported, the number of bidders in the room had dwindled as the internet made its mark –a phenomenon reflected across the country.

On a national level, Surrey and Sussex are the next ports of call for buyers after London. International buyers are aware of this and regularly scour the region’s auction houses, particularly private and trade buyers from China, seeking ancient items to repatriate.

In just over a year, John Nicholson’s has sold two rare and ancient libation cups, one fetching £70,000, the other a stunning £130,000.

John Nicholson told the Observer: “We are very proud of our national and international following, but our business was built on and around the interest of local antiques buyers, so it was a treat to see so many in the room at one time.

“The market has been a bit slow, but this sale really has restored our faith in the local auction market.”

“Buyers were clearly indulging themselves or a loved ones with designer watches, as a lady’s 18ct yellow gold Cartier watch took £1,200, doubling its upper estimate of £600.

A 2012 lady’s Omega Seamaster white wristwatch finally sold after an intense round of bidding at £1,200.

A matching diamond and enamel horse racing brooch and stick pin with a jockey, estimated at £200-£300, sold for £1,200.