A SENIOR partner at an auctioneers has given an insight on what it is like selling antiques and general goods during the pandemic.

David Rogers-Jones, senior partner at Colwyn Bay auctioneers and valuers Rogers Jones Co, who has worked as an auctioneer for 60 years, thought he had 'seen it all' until late last month.

Due to the current virus restrictions, an auction was conducted in the sale room without public viewing and with no potential buyers in attendance.

A total of 400 lots were on offer and 430 distance-registered bidders got involved, resulting in 87 per cent of the items finding buyers.

An old game of Subbuteo reached £500 and an antique Japanese ivory figurine went to a Belgian buyer online for a top price of £700.

Mr Rogers-Jones said: "The auction took four hours, throughout which there were only two persons present in the saleroom - John Rogers-Jones, the auctioneer and Colwyn Bay partner, who talked to a computer monitor the whole time, and myself. I began to realise that this was the beginning of a new era in the auction world and that, sadly, it was time to say goodbye to all those lovely 'bottoms on seats'."

Mr Rogers-Jones, who is married to Margaret, started the business in 1992 having worked with Anglesey auctioneers Morgan Evans & Co for 24 years after completing his training in Bangor, Caernarfon and Hereford.

Talking more about the first 'online only' auction, he added: "Our saleroom in Cardiff had also held one very soon after the start of the crisis in March.

"There was no pre-sale viewing of items but all of the 400 lots in the sale had been photographed for the on-line catalogue and additional images were available to anyone enquiring together with verbal condition reports. Entry to the sale room on sale day was not permitted. All intending buyers had the choice of leaving written bids, booking a telephone line for a ‘phone bid' or registering to bid online.

"In the latter instance, there were as many as 420 bidders registered to bid from all parts of the UK and beyond.

"In terms of our action, the saleroom on that day was a very strange place with just two of us. I was there purely as observer, wondering what the auction world had come to. Having sold in auctions with up to 150 people sat in front of me, it was a strange feeling indeed.

"There was none of the laughter and banter to be enjoyed nor the sight of the occasional person nodding off or others eating a sly sandwich or having a quick read of the paper."

Mr Rogers-Jones admitted the particular scenario did not come as a 'complete surprise'.

"We have slowly been embracing technological changes in the auction world for some time and there is no doubt that these are changes of considerable benefit to both sellers and buyers at auction," he added.

"On the one hand, we have the sellers entrusting items for sale with us in the confident knowledge that they will receive the widest possible exposure and on the other side, the sheer convenience to distant buyers not having to physically trudge to auctions spread around different parts of the country."

A few copies still remain of Mr Roger-Jones's book written in 2015, 'Going, Going - Anecdotes of a Welsh Auctioneer' with all profits to Wales Air Ambulance.