From antiques and artworks to tools and toilet seats, buying items at an auction is increasingly popular, Haywards Auction House owners John and Bridgette More say.
After a successful antiques and collectables sale on Sunday, they are gearing up for one of their most popular auctions, of tools, on Saturday, March 7.
“We have about four tool auctions a year and they’re always very well attended,” Mr More said.
Younger people came not only in the hope of bargains but also because many believed it was more environmentally responsible to buy second-hand.
“They’re good fun.”
There is a belief British-made tools are still the best and there is a strong market for tools that are 100-plus years old, including gardening equipment, as some buyers say old spades and grubbers are better balanced.
“We get pretty much everything of good quality, from high-end tools to granddad’s bit and brace,” Mr More said.
Lawnmowers and wheelbarrows were common at tool sales – and they had even sold a boat.
Some items came from people clearing out their sheds, the Mores said.
Between the specialist sales, Haywards has regular Wednesday auctions of general items and the Mores said the popularity of certain things ebbed and flowed.
“Not selling well now are figurines, small ornaments, ordinary glassware or plated ware, especially tea and coffee pots, as no-one wants to clean them these days,” Mrs More said.
“but good crystal sells really well, particularly good crystal glasses.”
Books were making a comeback, her husband said.
“And we can’t get enough 1970s rock records.”
One surprise is that Haywards can sell alcohol, possibly the only auctioneers in the country to hold a liquor licence for this purpose.
In clearing entire houses, they could get what Mr More called “the good, the bad and the ugly”.
Naturally, he wanted to sell everything, but low-value items from estates sometimes did not sell and, if families did not want them back, these goods were given to Habitat for Humanity.