You might not associate antiques with excitement, but for auctioneer Stuart Triggol the hype and buzz of a sale day gets the adrenaline pumping.
Scanning a crowded, two-storey auction room while monitoring paper bids and incoming telephone offers to bring the hammer down on 120 lots per hour makes the monthly auctions at the Octagon Salerooms highpressure, but enjoyable events.
“It’s the culmination of a month’s work, sourcing lots, valuing, photographing, cataloguing, scheduling and displaying so even though I’ve been doing it a number of years, I still get an adrenaline rush and it’s enjoyable on the day,” said Stuart.
On sale days he is joined by auctioneer-valuers including Christopher Lanigan-O’Keeffe and Peter Rixon who take turns in the chair.
“Whoever is helping can help spot the bids, as you can get very immersed,” adds Stuart.
“People always say it must be glamorous and ‘I would like to do your job’ but, like anything, there’s a lot of hard work behind the scenes.”
And with each lot displayed on a high-tech screen in the saleroom, things have changed considerably since he started as a school-leaver with the then WRJ Greenslade and Co in 1975.
Stuart was in the chair when Greenslade Taylor Hunt saw records tumble last September as part of the Joy Barnes Collection sale. He was the man who brought down the hammer on ‘Small Oval’ which sold for a whopping £325,000.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” he said. “I must confess I didn’t get a lot of sleep the night before!”
Away from six-figure price tags, antiques and auctions have been placed firmly in the public’s consciousness thanks to programmes like Bargain Hunt, which Stuart says have benefited trade.
“I have worked with presenter David Dickenson a couple of times – once at [the firm’s former base of] Magdalene House and also for a show at Wellsprings Leisure Centre. The hype is good and it brings people in.
“The programmes have led to a greater awareness of what sells.”
And his message to anyone considering their first visit to the Octagon Salerooms is: “Come to a viewing day before a sale when it’s quieter. You’ll find a fantastic range of goods and then come along and experience an auction on the day – there’s a great atmosphere and you’ll receive a warm welcome.”
Greenslade Taylor Hunt held its first sale at the Octagon Salerooms in East Reach, Taunton, in May last year after outgrowing their previous base in Winchester Street.
The renovated 1970s-built former chapel offers saleroom, balcony, video screen, phone bidding and car parking.
Free valuation mornings take place every Monday from 9am to 1pm.
It is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5.30pm and Saturdays 9am-12.30pm.
Postcode for sat navs – TA1 3HL.
Dates for your diary:
- March 6 - Monthly antiques sale
- March 7 – Collectors sale
- April 3 – Monthly antiques sale
- April 4 – Spring west country sporting sale
- May 1 – Monthly antiques sale
- June 5 – Monthly antiques sale
- June 7 – Collectors sale, including vintage fashion and homeware
- July 3 – Monthly antiques sale
- August 7 – Monthly antiques sale
- September 4 – Monthly antiques sale
- September 6 – Collectors sale including WWI memorabilia
- October 2 – Monthly antiques sale
- October 3 – Autumn west country sporting sale
- November 8 – Monthly antiques sale
- December 4 – Monthly antiques sale
- December 5 – Collectors sale
Sales start at 10am. Viewing: Previous Saturday, 9am-12.30pm and two days prior to sale, 9am to 5pm.
There is a feature in the salerooms in today's County Gazette (February 13, 2014 edition).