The August Auction

An account of setting up and running an auction, with references where appropriate to being on the autistic spectrum.

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INTRODUCTION

This is an account of yesterday and today (set-up and then the auction itself). Most of the pics are from yesterday – the exceptions are a couple of pictures of items that fared especially well.

SETTING UP AND RUNNING AN AUCTION

Yesterday was the day on which everything for the auction was transferred by van from James and Sons premises to the auction venue, on this occasion the Prince of Wales Suite at Fakenham Racecourse. Once there it had to be laid out to best advantage, and the person most responsible for sorting that out was me. Largely lots were laid out in number order, although there were breaks in the sequences for small stuff and stamp albums which were set up on a set of tables to which only staff were permitted access and also for the prizes (as deemed by yours truly) among the small items which were laid out in glass exhibition case. My ability to carry out this task comes from two attributes both of which are linked to me being on the autistic spectrum – the fact that I am exceedingly comfortable with numbers and the fact that I am very pattern conscious.

Fortunately the friendly and helpful folks who run the racecourse had already put out tables (although we did move a few) and provided us with chairs to set out as we deemed best.

I was able to get back to James and Sons for about an hour after we had finished setting up, and before leaving at the end of the day I disconnected the mouse from my work computer and took it with me because James and Sons do not have a spare mouse and for what I do on auction day, even though I use a laptop a proper mouse is much easier to use than the laptop’s scroll pad.

Here are some pictures from yesterday…

What the venue looked like when we arrived on Tuesday morning.
What the venue looked like when we arrived on Tuesday morning.
The James and Sons banner.
The James and Sons banner.
Set up for action tomorrow.
Set up for action tomorrow.
The exhibition case.
The exhibition case.
A close up of some of the things in the case.
A close up of some of the things in the case.

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Lot 160 (front cover item) and lot 94.
Lot 160 (front cover item) and lot 94.

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AUCTION DAY

I will not state exactly what time this morning my alarm clock was set for – suffice it to say that for some of you it would have been more like a ‘getting in’ time than a ‘getting up’ time. I departed King’s Lynn on the 6:50 bus, and of course at that time of day there was no traffic on the roads, so the bus arrived in Fakenham exactly as scheduled – just after 7:30. The walk from Fakenham town centre to the auction venue, which is quite scenic, occupied a further 20 minutes and as it happened I was the first of the James and Sons team to be at the venue. about 20 minutes later  my colleague Andrew arrived and we able to connect all the wiring and get the computers set up for running the auction. In between locating lots for people who wished to see them in the flesh before bidding (a task to which I am well suited because of another of my autistic traits – a near photographic memory which means that I generally know precisely what I am looking for and have a jolly good idea of where it will be) I also carried out sound and video checks and made sure that the computers were working as they should.

The way these auctions work is that David runs the auctions, and has the auctioneers view screen open on his computer. I meanwhile use the live auction app from ATG Media (who run www.the-saleroom.com) and as well as recording bids, making sure that we are on the right lot and addressing any technical issues that may arise it is also my task to alert David to internet bids. I do find both the direct customer service work I do before the auction starts and then being up on the rostrum quite tough, but because it only happens once a month I can manage it.

Although this was one of our smaller auctions, there were a few highlights. Just a couple of examples: Lot 345 was a plastic box chock full of Panini Trade Cards, valued at £20-30 – and the hammer finally came down at £65. Even more remarkable to me, although there had been an inquiry about this item before the auction, lot 532 which was a “Pedigree of Hugh Fenne of Yorkshire”  had been valued at £30-40 and sold for £80.

Lot 345
Lot 345
Lot 532 in all it's glory
Lot 532 in all it’s glory
A close up of the title portion of lot 532
A close up of the title portion of lot 532
Another close up of part of lot 532.
Another close up of part of lot 532.

Once the sale was over we then had to load up the van with everything that needed to go back to the shop, go back in to the centre of Fakenham, unload everything into the shop, and then make a trip back to the racecourse for the signs we had put up to advertise our presence, the stools on which David and I had sat at the rostrum and one or two other things.

Fortunately, this was all accomplished in time for me to catch the 15:38 bus back to King’s Lynn (there is a gap in the X8’s schedule meaning that the next bus back after that was not until 17:38 – and that bus can usually be relied on … to be late).

Tomorrow will be largely devoted to updating the database with details of everyone who took part in the auction – and what they bid on and what they won and so on,

Author: Thomas

I am branch secretary of NAS West Norfolk and #actuallyautistic (diagnosed 10 years ago at the comparatively advanced age of 31). I am a keen photographer, so that most of my own posts contain photos. I am a keen cricket fan and often write about that subject. I also focus a lot on politics and on nature.

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