Lots Road Auction House is based in the heart of Chelsea and provides a variety of contemporary and antique items for sale. Since 1979 the auction house has held a major auction every Sunday, including Bank Holidays where between 500 and 600 lots are auctioned.
Nick Carter, one of the leading auctioneers at Lots Road has been auctioneering on and off for 17 years. He told us how the internet is changing the landscape of the auctioneering industry:
“The clientele of Lots Road Auction house used to be mainly local however the Internet has levelled the playing field for Auction houses as they now have an international following. With a square footage of 1600 metres over two floors and over 30 staff Lots Road has the tools, capacity and location to sell anything. Recently a Hungarian dinner set was order by someone in Kuwait who found it quicker to purchase it from the auction house rather than order it from Harrods. Their new website is going to be re-launched in May. Lots Road is in the top ten auction houses in the UK because of the regularity of weekly sales. We turn over between 100,000 to 250,000 thousand a week and gross anything between seven to ten million a year”
Nick Carter describes auctioneering like a performance; “You must like the challenge of engaging the audience and communicating with people; participation is key” Although the performer must gauge the body language of his audience; “you must know when to back off when they are bidding and when to give them a nudge. I aim to make people smile even if they lose the bid - what is most important is that they go away with a feel good factor, whatever the outcome of the auction.” “I never intended to go into Auctioneering as a career.
As a young man I wanted to join the Marines but unfortunately due to my asthma I couldn’t get in . Instead I went to Art College with the thought that there would be plenty of pretty girls there”
Nick studied photography, which he continues to pursue as a hobby and went on to work in an Art Gallery, then auctioneering at Bonhams before joining Lots Road Auction House.
He believes that Lotts Road is unique in the industry and this is partly due to its lack of pretention. “We are more open; there’s no smoke and mirrors or glitz and glamour in the business. Really it is like any other retail industry - it’s all about relationships. We treat every item in the same way regardless of whether it is worth £1,000 or £10,000.”
Conceptual Art, for Nick, has pushed its boundaries and people are starting to reject it. “Traditional painting no longer fits in with contemporary life.” Nick feels photography is the new medium; “New Art that fits in with modern life” and he believes this is where the market is going. A photograph of the Rhine River by German Artist Andreas Gursky sold for $4.3 million in New York last year so perhaps Nick’s predictions are becoming realities.
Lots Rd Auction House is holding a Garden Sale on 20th May. If anyone would like to consign Garden Statuary and furniture contact Nick on: firstname.lastname@example.org, 020 73766833, www.lotsroad.com