London is a fantastic place to hunt for antiques and collectibles. Everything from Old Master paintings to jewellery, designer handbags, contemporary art, Russian icons, silverware and even vintage cars are sold at auction in London.
The trick is knowing where to go. Much depends on your budget. The big high profile auction houses in Mayfair and Knightsbridge regularly have sales attracting bidders prepared to spend up to millions of pounds for desirable items. Yet there are also smaller houses holding weekly sales where prices can be just a few pounds or several hundred.
London has been a centre of the art and antiques business for centuries. Sotheby’s, Christies, Bonhams and Philips all began trading in the eighteenth century. Sotheby’s is, in fact, the oldest auction house in London. Many famous objects have passed through the doors of these auction houses including items by Albert Einstein, Rubens, Picasso and Damien Hirst. Anyone can go to the special viewing days, held before the auctions to take a look at the stunning items on display.
For most people, it is the smaller sale rooms which are the big attraction and where the bargains can be found. Looking for vintage clothing, furniture or jewellery? Or perhaps you want some silverware, icons, toys, contemporary art, oriental carpets, glassware or designer handbags? Islington is the home of one of Criterion’s extremely popular auction houses where weekly sales can attract large numbers of bidders. This is where you can find anything from vintage wristwatches to ceramics, posters and engravings.
Criterion can also be found down in West London, where it has a site in Wandsworth. Other popular auction venues accessible by tube from hotels in North London include High Road Auctions in Chiswick and Twickenham, and Lots Road Auctions in Chelsea. Lots Road Auctions have even featured on television as part of a behind the scenes TV series showing the work of an auction house. Further south in West Norwood is Rosebery’s, where weekly general sales are supplemented by a monthly picture auction. Whichever auction you choose while residing at Best Western Palm Hotel London, you are guaranteed to have a wonderful experience.
Details of upcoming sales can be found on their websites, together with price estimates for each item. Bear in mind that these prices are only ever estimates – the actual prices on the day depend entirely on who is bidding. Sometimes items can go for much less than the estimate, or may far exceed the anticipated price.
If you want to bid at an auction, you will need to register with the auctioneers and receive a number. It is this number that you show when bidding. Book any of the hotels in Wembley Stadium and be on time too, as items can be sold very quickly during an auction.