Thursday, 31 May 2007


‘Always view first’ is a basic piece of advice when buying at auction. Jorge Giro ignored this advice when he bought a house in Roses, Spain, recently. When he entered the house for the first time, last week, he found the mummified body of the previous owner.

The former owner had missed her mortgage repayments for the simple reason that she was dead. The bank repossessed the house and put it on the market without looking inside!

A sad commentary on modern life.

*Hepburn dress makes $192,000 at auction.

The pink cocktail dress was worn by Audrey Hepburn in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany's’. The final price was well above the auction estimates, but the latter were low, in my opinion.

However, this was not the principal dress worn by Hepburn in the film. That one – a black Givenchy – made £467,200 last December.

The pink dress was used in the scene where Golightly learns of her brother's death and smashes crockery in a fit of grief.

The dress sold at an auction of film and entertainment memorabilia at Christie's in New York.

Also sold was a programme from John F Kennedy's Birthday Celebration in 1962 - famous for Marilyn Monroe's birthday serenade - which went for $66,000.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

* 'Big Boobies' sell at auction

A comedy painting featured in hit show 'Allo 'Allo has sold for £4,000 - with the proceeds going to charity.

The work, titled The Fallen Madonna With The Big Boobies, was hung in character Rene Artois's French cafe in the series. In one episode he had to hide it inside his trousers to keep it from the Gestapo.

In 1992, when the classic came to the end of its run, set designer Shaun Moore took it away and gave it pride of place in hit own home.

He recently decided to auction it for a charity that provides for children's education in Oxfordshire.

Actually, the painting was probably worth more than £4,000 in publicity. I remember, some years ago, I had a sketch of a nude by Sir Anthony Blunt (The Queen’s Keeper of Pictures and Soviet spy) in an auction in Hitchin. The picture only made a few hundred pounds, but we got tons of publicity including a quarter page in the Independent on Sunday, a mention in The Sun and local papers as well as a television crew filming the auction.



As mentioned in the column to the right, auctioneering is one of the passions of my life. I love everything to do it – attending sales, listening to auctioneers, reading and collecting books about the subject, studying the history of the auction etc., but most of all I love to conduct auctions. When things are going well, it is a high like no other!

I conducted my first auction over thirty years ago and before that I organised auctions. There isn’t a single job in an auctionrooms that I have not done. As a matter of fact, I once ran a whole auction by myself. The staff forgot to turn up! I have always said that auctioneering is like showbusiness – ‘The show must go on’ - so I did the auctioneering as well as the clerk’s, porter’s and cashier’s jobs.

I have officiated in over 2,000 auctions over the last thirty years, starting in Ireland and now in London. I also love doing charity auctions.