THE region’s oldest auction house is joining the 21st Century by starting online bidding.
Thomas Watson Auctioneers and Valuers, based in Darlington, has appointed David Elstob as its first business development manager who will oversee the online portal and the introduction of a quarterly fine art and antiques auction.
He said: “Thomas Watson is an established saleroom, with a rich history and a strong reputation. I am keen that we build upon this, but add to it a more progressive and up-to-date approach to business.
“The aim is to grow the business and make sure that Thomas Watson is the name on people’s lips and the place they choose to come and buy their items.
“I really believe that we offer something special – every client matters to us.
“It’s a really exciting time to be joining the company and I am really excited to put changes in place that I am sure will help to further grow and enhance the image of Thomas Watson.”
The 172-year-old firm, which employs seven people, aims to introduce online bidding for its next fortnightly sale on September 4. It expects to see significant growth on the back of the new development and the new quarterly auctions.
The online portal will allow people to submit real-time bids for items as they are presented live in the salesroom, potentially opening up North East auctions to customers worldwide.
Elstob said: “Online bidding represents a significant opportunity for us to broaden our customer base and tap into customers from beyond the boundaries of Darlington and the Tees Valley.
“The art and antiques market is buoyant at the moment, despite the downturn, and we are in a strong position to capitalise on this.
“We really do believe that by blending the good old-fashioned service we’re renowned for, with a modern approach to selling, we will be able to do just that.”