In a facetime conversation with a fellow auctioneer the other day we talked about the trials and tribulations of our strange auction world in the current climate. His work revolves around bankrupt stock and matters of insolvency whereas my world is that of solicitors and deceased estates. He moaned that with the internet over the last few years as a buying platform he did not recognize most of his clients and now as all his sales are timed auctions he has very little to do with the buyers at all. He remarked that he did not miss the cut and thrust of a busy saleroom, sitting on the rostrum for hours selling to people he did not know. For me it was slightly different prior to COVID-19, the room would be packed with fifty to a hundred customers, most of them regulars, waving homemade paddles and filling up on bacon sandwiches. We have always had the internet as a strong buying presence, but the room commanded the sale. I miss the people and the buzz of the auction, being in my lofty pulpit, looking down on the congregation. I miss the nerves prior to the sale, wearing the suit and wielding the gavel, the master of ceremonies, taking abuse from porters and customers alike. I was surprised when he said that he did not miss any of that, he enjoyed the time sales with no audience participation, he had not picked up a gavel since March. However, he had never been busier because of the nature of the financial impact of Covid 19 bankruptcies had gone through the roof and were set to get busier when we hit the end of the furlough system. In our auction not a lot has changed except the lack of audience and having no viewing days. The clearances keep coming in as the estates get cleared and items are catalogued and sold albeit only via the internet. What the future holds for all of our differing auction houses who knows, except businesses will keep going to the wall and people will keep on dying. Luckily, we have not seen a sharp rise in deceased estates due to Covid, however our workload has gone up because furloughed people are busy at home clearing out lofts and garages. Also, people have been using auctions to buy from to create secondary businesses on Ebay and Facebook selling pages to bolster their incomes while stuck at home. I am looking forward to getting back in my pulpit along with the majority of auctioneers who miss the theatre or pantomime of the sales.