Auctioneers cancel first auction in 163 years

PUBLISHED: 12:41 30 March 2020 | UPDATED: 17:51 30 March 2020

TW Gaze has cancelled its first ever auction. Photo: Harriet Orrell

TW Gaze has cancelled its first ever auction. Photo: Harriet Orrell


One of Norfolk’s oldest auction houses has cancelled auctions for the first time in more than 150 years due to the coronavirus outbreak.

TW Gaze, based in Diss, holds its auctions every Friday with occasional sales on Thursday and Saturday. But now, the house, founded in 1857, has cancelled all auctions.

Elizabeth Talbot, auctioneer and director, said: “We provided unceasing valuable services to the community throughout both World Wars and even the Great Depression did not stop us.

“For those for whom our regular auctions set life’s rhythm, feed a passion, or provide a social hub, our absence will take some getting used to - we’re missing them too.

“However, the important thing now is for us all to stay safe and well.”

TW Gaze director Elizabeth Talbot. Picture: Simon ParkinTW Gaze director Elizabeth Talbot. Picture: Simon Parkin

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Despite auctions not being held at the houses a property sale was able to go ahead with it being held online.

Ms Talbot added: “With extreme times upon us and best-laid plans disrupted for everyone, one local property agent has managed to fulfil the instructions of their vendors and satisfy the hopes of prospective purchasers by staging their latest property auction, following strict government guidelines under lockdown conditions.”

Planning and co-ordination was put into place by the head of residential property and director of TW Gaze, Mike Sarson.

He notified sellers and buyers and gathered a small team of his staff to run the auction remotely from behind locked doors. In the end it took “one fabulous auctioneer”, four back office staff calling and emailing all parties who had viewed or expressed interest, multiple phone lines and four written bids.

Auctioneer Mike Sarson held a property sale online. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYAuctioneer Mike Sarson held a property sale online. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Ms Talbot added: “The team members worked in their own space, complying with social distancing requirements and contacted all parties remotely.

“Special measures that were put in place included additional drafting of clauses to allow extended completion times if required, and lots of extra telephone work to try to speak to all potential buyers and explain both the situation and the bespoke bidding process.”

Mr Sarson said: “It was an unusual feeling to sit in a quiet office, linking with six colleagues who in turn were communicating remotely with bidders, compared to the usual drama of a packed auction room, but it worked. Our clients secured a sale and the buyers got the place they wanted.”

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