shopping and style
It's time to drop the preconceptions about auction houses and make a bid for some long-term savings.
Words: Louisa Pearson
Picture the scene. A collection of immaculately dressed people. sitting in formally laid out rows before a stage. L'p front is the imposing figure of the auctioneer. with a sidekick holding a Ming vase aloft. llis keen eye scours the room for the raised eyebrow that will signify a sale. .\'ow forget all this! The world of film and TV auctions may well exist somewhere. but there’s also a parallel universe where ordinary people can dive headfirst into bidding for antiques.
If. like me. you used to dread the sound of the Antiques RUUt/S/IUH‘ theme tune. it's time to put your fears to one side. For here‘s the thing. In ten years time when you put your urban-chic folding table out to pasture. think of that money you initially spent. Where has it gone'.’ Now . . . if you‘d bought an antique table. a decade down the line. when you’re sick of the sight of it. you could put it tip for auction and maybe even make a tidy profit. (ietting the picture'.’ Admittedly auction virgins do need a little help. so we decided to take a look at Phillips Auctioneers. the world‘s largest privately owned auction house.
Before you go near a sale it's worth taking a look at its Buying and Selling guide. This handy
little booklet takes you through each step in plain linglish. Phillips runs sales each month with a different theme. liacli item that's going under the hammer appears in the sale catalogue with a lot number. description. and the all- important estimate (indication of selling price). Once you’ve
got a rough idea of what you fancy. it‘s time to go along to the pre-sale viewing. Here‘s where you can separate the wheat from the chaff. That wardrobe that sounded good on paper may turn out to be something even your Granny wouldn‘t hang her clothes in. The reverse. of course. is also true.
Btit what of the sale itself‘.’ Well. there's definitely a lively atmosphere. but it's much less formal than you might imagine. People even sit around on the antique chairs. Before bidding you‘ll need to register. and in return you‘re given a paddle (technical name for card with number on). This is your ticket to ride. Waving your paddle is the way to bid. and you can relax in the knowledge that the auctioneers are specially trained: if you‘re just using it as a fan to keep cool they won’t sell you anything without double-checking.
At Phillips in Scotland. the most regular auction is the monthly Blenheim Sale. Here you can kit out your home with a vast range of furniture. rugs. clocks. ceramics and much more. In the October sale you could expect to pay anything from £30 for a glass decanter to £300 for a Victorian oak dining table. And of course there are the items for serious collectors only: silver mounted boar's tusk or stag‘s hoof. anyone?
Also on the horizon is the Post-War Art And Design sale in Edinburgh on Friday 27 October. which includes the fantastically retro Keracolour ‘Spaceman‘s llelmet' television (£400—£600). The Mackintosh Museum at Glasgow School of Art is the appropriate setting for the Late 19th And Early 20th Century Decorative Arts sale on Friday l0 November. So if modern minimalism is getting you down. take a wander along to an auction house for a dose of old-fashioned charm.
Phillips Auctioneers, 207 Bath _.._ Street, Glasgow, 0141 ' ' 2218377;65 " 1 George Street, Edinburgh, 0131 225 2266.
Spend, spend, spend. . . OCEAN OF LOVE is the name of Swatch's latest timepiece. But wait — this is no ordinary watch, for the strap in fact acts as a portable love handbook. Want to know more? In the words of the makers: 'The strap has a series of diagrams showing step-by-step instructions
to guide you into port without any accidents. Advice such as ’localise the port’ and ‘offload your cargo' should ensure everything goes swimmingly. . .’ FASHIONABLE FEET WILL have a new selection to choose from when Moda In Pelle opens in Glasgow's Princes Souare at the end of the month. lts footwear I. \ collection IS diVided into i441. fashion responsive themes, l "‘ from classic tailored styles i" ‘ to high fashion animal ' prints, metallics and perspex.
IF YOU CARE about where your clothing has come from (ie preferably not a sweatshop), then go along to the Fair Trade fashion evening. Edinburgh's One World Shop is organising the event, where clothing and accessories from its autumn range will be on display. If you decide to buy on the night there'll be 10% off selected items. Call 0131 229 4541 for further details.
SCOTTISH BOOKS DIRECT is the new book mailing serVice being launched by the Scottish Publishers Association. It'll be producing a quarterly catalogue filled With books ab0ut sport, history, food and drink as well as fiction by Scottish authors. Thankfully it seems that there’s no dodgy ’book club -- must buy several titles a year’ type strings attached. To find out more e-mail enquiries@scottishbooksdirect.Com or call 0141 557 S757.
SPACE NK, THE dream home of innovative cosmetic addicts, is the place to find some new Philosophy products this month. Indulge in an easy juice fast with its new three- in-one bath, shower and shampoos, each with, you guessed it, a fruit theme. There's replenishing mango juice, zesty lemon juice and even balancing cranberry juice. Just don't try ‘ drinking them. Available from 5 Space NK, Princes Square ' Glasgow; George Street, Edinburgh.