Looking for jewellery or antiques? Then why not book serviced apartments Mayfair and head for one of London’s legendary auction houses. Prices can range from a just a few pounds to millions depending on what is being sold and can result in many unexpected bargains.
Top of the list has to be Sotheby’s, which has been trading in London since 1744. It is now the oldest and largest fine art auction house in the world, attracting headline grabbing sales such as a Pink Diamond for £29.5m, or works by Pablo Picasso and Rubens.
If you are at Presidential Marylebone Mayfair then you should visit Christies which has been trading almost as long, having opened in 1766. It specializes in fine and decorative items including photography, collectibles and jewelry. Among the more unusual items sold here include the personal notes of Albert Einstein.
Another auction house with eighteenth century origins is Bonham’s, which is well known for sales of watches & clocks, as well as motorcars achieving record-breaking prices for various Aston Martin and Maserati vehicles. Not far away is Philips, which is best known for contemporary art and design selling works by Damien Hirst amongst others.
All these auction houses can be found in Mayfair, Bond Street and Knightsbridge. Their websites contain details of all upcoming auctions, and special viewing days are held in advance of the auctions so even if you cannot afford the items, you can go and see some spectacular pieces.
There are also smaller auction houses scattered around London where sales tend to be held on a weekly basis. Head to Lots Road Auctions in Chelsea where you can find anything from a Russian icon to oriental carpets, celebrity signed programmes, glassware and designer handbags. Also in West London is High Road Auctions, which has galleries in Chiswick and Twickenham. Its weekly general sales can include everything from furniture to ceramics.
Criterion holds weekly auctions in Islington and Wandsworth. Thousands of items can go under the hammer each week, making it a great place to find very collectible items at good prices. Typical items might include wristwatches, silverware, hanging lights, figurines, oriental carpets, posters and engravings.
If you want to buy an item during the auction sale, you need to register with the auctioneers. You will be given a number, which you have to show whenever you place a bid. Decide the maximum amount you are prepared to pay, and keep to your budget as it can be very easy to spend more than you expect. Also bear in mind that VAT and a buyer’s premium may have to be paid. Payment has to be made at the end of the auction. To avoid last time rush, it is advisable to book your stay in advance at Holiday Apartments London.