Addisons of Barnard Castle, one of North England's leading auction houses, is reporting a very successful year for antiques sales, with a large rise in the number of items sold via the internet over the last 12 months.
Addisons introduced live online bidding for its fortnightly general sales at the beginning of the year, whereas previously this service had only been available for the quarterly Fine Art and Antiques Catalogue Sales.
This move has obviously paid off and the auction house has seen a 32% increase in the number of items sold online during 2011, with this method of bidding often accounting for around a third of the entire collection at some auctions.
David Elstob, Auctioneer and Valuer at Addisons, is delighted by the popularity of the online service. "Internet bidding has undoubtedly changed the face of buying and selling antiques and it is particularly good for more rural auction houses like our own, which are no longer dependent on people physically walking through the door.
"We are now able to compete on a level playing field with auction houses across the globe, including the big London rooms, and it is commonplace to sell to bidders in places like America, China and India. As well as extending the market place for buyers, it is also good news for our sellers as their items receive world- wide exposure bringing top prices," he added.
The auction house has also seen a good level of sales generally over the year with many examples of high prices being achieved, especially in certain areas like jewellery, fine art and English oak furniture.
In the March catalogue sale, a diamond dress ring went under the hammer for £2,500 and a Cartier diamond ring sold at the top of its price estimate range for £3,100 in the June catalogue sale.
One of the biggest successes of the year was in the September catalogue sale, when an unframed oil painting by a follower of Frederik Marinus Kruseman (1816- 1882) which was valued at £800-£1,200, sold for £13,500.
The work, depicting skaters by a windmill, sold to a telephone bidder from the artist's native Holland.
In the same sale a painting by the industrial painter Tom McGuinness (1926-2006), who started his career as a miner in County Durham, reached £3,200.
Quality English furniture also made high prices, with the work of Robert 'Mouseman' Thompson (1876-1955) proving particularly popular. A set of four oak dining chairs sold for £2,000 in the June catalogue sale and in this month's catalogue sale, a rare oak bookcase went under the hammer for £4,800.