In another turbulent year, with so many aspects of our lives turned upside down, the auction industry has continued to thrive. Despite the challenges, including a lockdown in the first quarter of the year, Tennants have sold nearly 33,000 lots in 79 sales, achieving a total hammer price of £12.7m with an enviable 90% sold rate.
Over the last ten years fine art auctioneers have had to embrace new technology to keep up with modern consumer demands, a movement which has been greatly accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years. Having expanded our digital offering prior to the pandemic, it was a relatively simple step to switch to online only sales and established buyers were quick to make the switch too. A new generation of buyers more familiar with digital transactions have entered the marketplace, further bolstering the industry.
However, whilst online bidding has become a central part of the business, nothing replaces the atmosphere of a live auction and we have been greatly encouraged by the number of bidders returning to the saleroom. Whilst we aim to make buying online as easy as possible, salerooms will always be a vital forum to engage physically with art and antiques, to take pleasure in the tactile nature of a piece of oak furniture, to see how a diamond ring sparkles as it catches the light, or to test how comfortable a dining chair may be. Many clients have been drawn back to Tennants by our spacious salerooms, who may not have been comfortable returning to smaller venues. The healthy footfall has no doubt been supported by the attraction of our display galleries and popular Café and Bistro.
Throughout the year we have had the privilege of selling numerous private collections, including several single-owner sales, namely The Historical Collection of natural History and Taxidermy from Hodnet Hall, A Yorkshire View: The Private Collection of Paintings of the late Mr George G. Hopkinson, The Curious Collector Sale, The Antler Sale: The Private Collection of Raymond and Annie Hutchison, and a Single-Owner Collection of Coins and Banknotes. Incorporated into our regular roster of sales were The Selected Contents of Forcett Hall, Mouseman Furniture from Marco Pierre White’s Rudloe Arms Hotel, Works from the Frank Cohen Contemporary Art Collection and The Library, Pictures and Camera Collection of Eric Hosking, and The Collection of a Gentleman which was sold in our new luxury designer fashion and accessories sale. Private collections have continued to attract high levels of interest and strong results across the board.
Standing out amongst a raft of auction highlights this year, were L.S. Lowry’s ‘People in a Park’ (sold for £165,000 plus buyer’s premium), an exceptionally rare 15th Century Illuminated Manuscript Almanac (sold for £95,000 plus buyer’s premium), a fine and rare 1967 Omega First Generation Exotic Red Racing Speedmaster Watch (sold for £85,000 plus buyer’s premium), and a Pair of French Ormolu-Mounted, White Marble and Porphyry Candelabra signed Joan F.R. Lorta, Sculp., 1788 (sold for £68,000 plus buyer’s premium). This year saw the first whisky casks sold at Tennants, crowned by the sale of a Hogshead of Macallan 1989 Single Malt Whisky (sold for £98,000 plus buyer’s premium) and a new record for a Mouseman carving was set by an anthropomorphic Mouseman Mouse Craftsman (sold for £13,000 plus buyer’s premium).
In addition to marking the anniversary of the Leyburn Vaccination Centre that has been operating from our premises, we have been delighted to have supported several fantastic charities this year. Hosted on our website have been charity auctions for Marie Curie, Hospitality for Heroes, the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust and the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, and we have supported vital work carried out by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, Save the Children and a host of local causes.
Our attention is now turning towards 2022, which looks set to be another busy and exciting year, kicking off with Townhouse: Property from the London Residence of a Lady of Title on 14th January and the March Spring Fine Sale which will incorporate property from three Private Estates.