Social distancing restrictions introduced in response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have forced many businesses to set up shop online, having been reliant on face-to-face interactions prior to the pandemic. And although this has proved to be a rocky transition for some markets, the online auction industry has enjoyed a boom, with prices skyrocketing to six figure amounts and listings increasing by 500 per cent in some cases.
As everyday Australians quickly realise they can make a pretty penny by selling off some of their own household items, galleries and art museums are also looking to pull big ticket items off display to be sold for a decent price online. Australian online auction company Lloyds Auctions has kicked it off by listing its biggest multi-million dollar fine art and memorabilia auction which notably includes two original game-worn Baggy Green caps.
The sheer scale of the auction is said to break Australian records with the two caps alone set to sell for around half a million dollars. The original Baggy Greens were worn by ‘Invincibles’ Arthur Morris and Sam Loxton who were known as key players of Sir Donald Bradman’s side, fame for their undefeated tour of England in 1948.
Along with the caps, the auction will include original artwork by renowned artists such as Brett Whitely and Tommy Watson, rare Australian bank notes that date back to the start of the last century and jewellery pieces including Pink Argyle diamonds, Rolex watches and high-end estate pieces, all expected to attract six figure sums.
Fellow online auction company, Leski Auction, proved the ease of online bidding with its “live” sporting memorabilia sale that was held earlier this month which saw an 80 per cent clearance rate of over 700 lots, according to the Antiques Reporter. Plenty of big ticket items were sold at the auction including an autograph book featuring cricket signatures from 1920-1931, which sold above its catalogue estimate for $6,500 as well as Clarrie Grimmett’s cricket cap for $4,200 and a 1914 Australasian Football Council gold medallion for $2,000.
The online auction gave bidders the choice of lodging bids for individual items before the auction, phone line bidding or bidding online as the auctioneer stood alone on the rostrum calling out to an empty room. Other companies have also offered digital viewing options such as Whatsapp or FaceTime to enhance the viewing and buying quality for clients who are no longer able to inspect artworks or memorabilia in person.
This spike in online auctions has seen traditional brick and mortar houses and art galleries making a sharp transition to digital events as they play catch up to reignite fallen sales. And although it’s said that online auctions tend to run slower than normal – which was proved with the first Covid-19 induced online auction that ran 30 to 50 lots an hour instead of 80 to 100 – the recent successes have proved that online sales may be a viable way for everyday Australians to dust off their historical treasures and make quick cash while stuck at home.
Head of fine art and antiques for Lloyds Auctions Amanda Benson said that due to restrictions, the recent flood of high-end art being consigned at the moment is unprecedented and should be taken advantage of by Australians looking to get their hands on something rare or unique. “The most important thing for people to note about this special high-end auction is that these items are so rare you may not get another opportunity to own them again,” she said. “All items are certified and original with online bidding starting at just $1.”
Meanwhile with the online market continuing to grow, those with possible treasures stashed away in their homes are also encouraged to jump on the opportunity as they never know what they might have their hands on. They could be sitting on the next $1.88 million rare Chinese teapot or maybe even a $5.8 million plain gold bowl – who knows!
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services advice.
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