Bergh Apton Church thanks Keys Auctioneers

Published on: 5 September 2022

It was an item in the summer 2021 issue of PCC news that first sparked the idea.

Keys Auctioneers had posted an ad suggesting an Antiques Valuation Day as a church fundraiser, pledging that all funds raised could be assigned to the church or charity nominated. It was an appealing notion given the state of most church finances! As, at the time, the country was on a rollercoaster of falling and rising – and rising – Covid infection numbers, alternately in and out of lockdowns and full of uncertainty about new variants of the virus, our mental note was ‘filed’ until January this year.

Having made contact in January with David Broom, one of the valuers at Keys, we agreed a date in mid-April and discussed the way the day might be organised. David and his colleague, Roy Murphy, would attend between 10.30am and 4pm, each offering a wealth of broad experience as well as individual expertise. David agreed that a cost of £3 per item was fair and suggested that we establish a limit on the number of items per person so that queues would not build up.

In our publicity, we invited prebooking, by phone or Eventbrite, of free hourly slots, allowing a maximum 3 pre-booked items per person. More would be allowed on the day if numbers permitted. As people arrived with their treasures, they exchanged £3 for a numbered ticket for each item. The amount of time taken for each valuation varied wildly between about 3 and 10 minutes, and during the 5-and-a-half hours that they were with us, David and Roy valued about 130 items.

Books, ceramics, pictures, jewellery and a whole raft of miscellaneous items were brought for inspection, explanation and valuation. Some owners were disappointed; others pleasantly surprised, and at least one was absolutely delighted to be told that the sampler which had almost been consigned to the bonfire might actually fetch several hundred pounds at auction! Having an internet connection in the church helped. When it was working (!), it gave our valuers a chance to access wider auction records.

To make the occasion an all-round event for those attending, we offered plants and refreshments for sale, and second-hand books for browsing and purchase. The fine April day encouraged people to linger to chat and enjoy the company, the church and our lovely churchyard. Those sales plus donations and payments for valuations contributed over £500 to our fundraising, and Bergh Apton Church is hugely grateful to the generosity in time, effort and expertise of David, Roy and Keys Auctioneers.

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