Lancashire dealers often travel to auctions in the neighbouring county of Cheshire. One of the top auction houses is Peter Wilson Fine Arts, of Nantwich, who recently entered the digital age. Currently, visitors from Preston can see antique desks and Victorian dining chairs being sold via a space-age electronic tablet, rather than sheets of paper.
To readers in the Ribble Valley, antique oak pedestal desks and high-tech electronics may seem unlikely bedfellows. Despite many auctioneers having an online presence, the majority of bids are still placed in person, and paper is the norm for sale sheets. However, Peter Wilson has bravely decided to be the “guinea pig” for a new virtual data system, based on an “electronic pen and paper” approach.
When selling items such as Victorian mahogany partners desks, Lancashire auctioneers traditionally rely on handwritten data forms, with information laboriously transmitted from front-of-house to office by hand. Now, all that seems set to change. The prototype system, part of a PhD project, allows information to be “handwritten” on an electronic pad with a pen device, rather than a keyboard. The data is then immediately submitted to the back office, enabling fast and accurate transmission of essential information. Peter Wilson Fine Arts – who recently sold a set of Victorian dining chairs for £1100 – were pleased to assist the project. They were quick to realise the potential of a system which allows late commission bids, buyer numbers, hammer prices etc to be communicated with instant precision.
When it comes to Victorian oak pedestal desks , Lancashire antique dealers may find the “pen and paper” auction approach becoming a thing of the past.
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