November 1, 2012 – Baldwin’s have joined eighteen other leading British fine art and antiques auctioneers, with a combined annual turnover in excess of £200 million, to become a dominant UK force in the international market and attract high-spending buyers to their sales from China and beyond.
In an unprecedented move, they have launched The Association of Accredited Auctioneers (Triple-A) and forged commercial links with Asia’s only on-line live bidding portal www.epailive.com. This service promotes Triple-A auctioneers’ sales directly to more than 100,000 registered collectors of fine art and antiques in China and posts catalogues translated into Chinese online.
More significantly, an escrow system – operated independently of Epailive – guarantees payments are made by successful bidders. On registering to bid in a sale, bidders are contractually required to commit funds to cover their purchases. This money is accessible to the auctioneer following the sale within 48 hours of the fall of the hammer.
Early signs are promising with Triple-A firms reporting an encouraging level of demand for the first sales listed on the platform. The objective is to increase international confidence and understanding of the UK auction business through a programme of targeted marketing, quality assurance and educational presentations to key growth markets.
“The internet is having an increasingly significant impact on our individual businesses,” said Triple-A founder Chairman Chris Ewbank (Ewbank’s Surrey) “but auctioneers and their buyers have been wary of dealing with each other when they are separated often by thousands of miles and obvious language barriers.
“Ours is a market sector in which credibility and service are key. Triple-A provides a platform from which to broaden foreign consumers’ understanding of precisely what they should expect from a UK auction house and what the auction house requires from them.
“As a not-for-profit association, Triple-A will represent the highest level of standards and service in the profession, and we will guard its accreditation standards with a rigid code of practice which all members must adhere to.”
Baldwin’s Auction Director and Triple-A committee member Seth Freeman added, “Baldwin’s have been holding auctions in Hong Kong and Singapore for over 15 years and we are very pleased to have been invited to stand alongside such a fine array of UK auction houses to offer our services to the wider Asian market.
“We have seen first-hand a steady increase in the repatriation of Chinese numismatics over the past five years and we are excited to now be part of a wider community of fine art professionals with common objectives for appealing to all emerging economies.”
Paul Viney the Chairman of the Society of Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers (SOFAA) commented, “Personally I welcome any initiative that can help us promote and develop our business links with the Chinese. Triple-A will be making a presentation at the next SOFAA committee meeting in December and we look forward to hearing more about their plans.”
Baldwin’s are the only specialist numismatic firm to be included in the Triple-A association and will broadcast their first live auction through www.epailive.com on the 6th December.
The sale (their 23rd specialist Islamic Coin Auction) will include an UMAYYAD, Yazid II/Hisham, Gold Dinar, 105h (723AD). The coin is arguably the most important coin ever struck in the Arabian Peninsula. It is the earliest gold coin which names a locality in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in this case the birthplace of the Faith, the Hijaz, the land of the Holy Cities of Makka and Medina. This extremely rare dinar is considered to have been of gold mined at the Ma’dan Amir al-Mu’minin bi’l Hijaz, the “Mine of the Commander of the Faithful in the Hijaz” and is estimated to sell for £800,000-1,000,000.
The 19 founder auctioneers and representatives of Triple-A are as follows:
- Anderson & Garland (Tyne & Wear) Andrew McCoull
- Baldwins (London) Seth Freeman*
- Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood (West Country) Chris Hampton
- The Canterbury Auction Galleries (Kent) Tony Pratt
- Cheffins (Cambridgeshire) Martin Millard*
- Dreweatts/Bloomsbury (Berkshire/London) Stephan Ludwig*
- Ewbank’s (Surrey) Chris Ewbank*
- Fellows (Midlands) Stephen Whittaker
- Gorringes (Sussex) Clifford Lansberry
- Halls (Shropshire) Jeremy Lamond*
- Hartleys (West Yorkshire) Andrew Hartley
- Lawrences of Crewkerne (Somerset) Helen Carless*
- Lyon & Turnbull (Edinburgh) Paul Roberts
- Mallams (Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire) Robin Fisher
- McTear’s (Glasgow) Brian Clements
- Peter Wilson (Cheshire) Robert Stones
- Roseberys (London) Ian Cadzow
- Sworders (Essex) Guy Schooling*
- Toovey’s (Sussex) Rupert Toovey
*Denotes committee member
A website for The Association of Accredited Auctioneers will be launched during 2014.
For more information on Baldwins, please visit its website.