Incredible Auction at Bloomsbury's in September

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/01/12 09:29 PM

400 lots of a larger auction at Bloomsbury's in London in September are dedicated to magic, with many fabulous lots:

http://www.bloomsburyauctions.com/aucti ... sale=35952

Look at lots 371 through 779
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 09/01/12 09:36 PM

Wow! Some really nice material. Thanks.
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Postby Marco Pusterla » 09/02/12 03:12 AM

And an eye-watering buyer's premium of almost 25% of the hammer price:
Buyers premium is charged per lot at 24% plus VAT (28.8%)

Crazy!
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Postby F.Amílcar » 09/02/12 06:17 AM

Richard,

Thanks for the information.

Truly yours,



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Postby AJM » 09/02/12 11:04 AM

Very interesting indeed.

I know what I'm going for!

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Postby Kevin Connolly » 09/02/12 12:41 PM

24% buyer's pretty stiff indeed. Does the VAT tax also apply to overseas bidders?
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Postby mrgoat » 09/02/12 01:58 PM

Wowzers, what a line up
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Postby Marco Pusterla » 09/02/12 05:16 PM

Kevin Connolly wrote:24% buyer's pretty stiff indeed. Does the VAT tax also apply to overseas bidders?


Don't know, but it shouldn't... you should pay custom duties when the items arrive in your country. In any case, the VAT is only on the premium, i.e. on the 24%.

I could remember when buyer's premium was 15% :(
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 09/03/12 12:10 AM

I can't remember ever paying a customs fee here in the US. Maybe I just slipped under the radar.
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Postby magicam » 09/04/12 06:07 PM

^^^ Kevin, could be that the materials youve bought fall under an exception to customs duties. For example, I think antiquarian books are exempt. But beware another snag: your state and federal govts. may want you to pay sales tax on the value of what you import.
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Postby James Smith » 09/05/12 11:48 AM

I agree that the 24% buyers premium is steep. Bloomsbury's bibliophile sales are usually 22% but maybe that's because they're in Godalming whereas this is in London. They have to pay for their Mayfair HQ somehow!

VAT is not applicable to goods exported outside of the EU. In the UK and the EU VAT is usually applied unless either 1) the goods are zero-rated (see below), or 2) the person is VAT registered in another EU country.

Zero-rated goods include "printed matter". This includes books, magazines, pamphlets, etc but does NOT include posters or photographs. As Marco says, it's only applied on the buyers premium in most auctions.

Of course this doesn't mean you wont get stung for local taxes when it passes through customs wherever you live but that will vary from country to country.

Unfortunately I wont be able to make the auction but I'm conveniently working in London the day before so will go to the viewing. My wife better hide my wallet!
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Postby James Smith » 09/20/12 01:31 PM

Did anyone go to the auction today who would be willing to write a quick report?

I went to the viewing last night and there was certainly some good stuff (although it was quite difficult to find some of the lots as it appeared a little disorganised).

From a quick look through prices nothing much seemed to go well beyond estimate and quite a lot of items were passed (particularly the prints). If anyone can comment who was there, it would be good to hear what you thought.
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Postby AJM » 09/20/12 02:32 PM

I joined by telephone for the lots I was interested in - success!

I would agree with James - for the lots that I saw there didn't appear to be anything out of the ordinary on the hammer prices, maybe folks were being a little conservative in light of the hefty buyers premium.

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Postby Marco Pusterla » 09/20/12 03:03 PM

Went there today and the sale was attended by (at the moment of highest presence) about 20 people, with the "usual faces" :) of British (London) collecting and a good number of antiquarians.

The sale was brisk and, indeed, many lots were passed: many lots of books (in my opinion not collated adeguately and with too high prices) and prints (who already went unsold at the Bob Read's auction). For the prints, it is probably a cultural matter, as they don't seem to be so sought after in UK or USA...

The prices were adeguate, although somebody overpaid some items and others went for a pittance: among these, a John Martin device which was not identified as such in the catalog. The bidders in the room seemed to secure most of the lots sold, while the internet bidders (especially those using a popular American service...) ended up paying much more than the item was being offered for.

Almost all lots had a fairly substantial reserve, which may have prevented more people from joining in at the early stages.

Personally, I went to the auction with an interest in 20 lots: after seeing the items, my interest on many of them vaned (either the quality was not warranting the asking price, or other reasons), and I ended up buying and taking home 5 lots, most books and photos (among which I found some nice surprises :) ).

My 2 cents...
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Postby James Smith » 09/20/12 03:03 PM

Glad to hear you won what you wanted, Andrew. I think I may have won one lot but as I had left bids online it hasn't been confirmed yet. Everything else I was beaten on!

One item I wanted did annoy me as I spotted an imperfection with it when I viewed it last night, which hadn't been catalogued . The auction house said they would lower the estimate and minimum bid and update it online. They didn't and I was not willing to bid the minimum amount that the online bidding would accept, so effectively couldn't bid for it. Clearly they did note the imperfection at the auction and accept lower bids as it sold for less than half the minimum amount that it would let me bid online!

Ah well, not much money spent so more for next month's Potter & Potter auction. If Gabe is around, when will the catalogue appear online?
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Postby James Smith » 09/20/12 03:07 PM

Thanks for the summary, Marco. I understand that online bidders will always come off worse than people physically there as physical attendees are a more sure bet for the auction house (i.e. more likely to pay and remove the items there and then). I'm interested in your comment about online bidders paying more than the lots were being offered for. Can you elaborate? It sounds a bit underhand!
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Postby Marco Pusterla » 09/20/12 03:55 PM

James, what I mean is that the auctioneer was still happy to accept a 50 bid for a lot and poor Joe Blogs behind his remote bidding page (at the American site...) doesn't know, clicks on the 140 he is presented with and the auctioneer is most grateful.

The other service used by Bloomsbury didn't have this "glitch", so its users were at an economical advantage (could get lots for less... pun intended :) ).

I'm not sure I can post the name of these services, but you know what they are ;)
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/20/12 04:20 PM

I wanted to bid on a bid on a big lot of gimmicked cards and decks, but the estimate was silly high, and the buyer's premium was also very high. Do you happen to know if it sold?
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Postby Marco Pusterla » 09/20/12 04:38 PM

Well... many more cards were added to the lot, including some of L'Homme Masqu, De Land Nifty Deck, Daisy Deck and 2 sets of Automatic and many, many more (including 18 sets of diminishing cards). There was an announcement in the saleroom.

I understand it sold for 1200: http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/127 ... faked-card

Again, it was a mixed lot, with some nice cards and the remainders of a magic shop's inventory... If it had split in 2 or 3 lots, the rare cards would have had more value, rather than being diluted with old, standard, fake cards...

IMHO, of course!
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Postby JLong » 09/20/12 04:40 PM

Marco, was the Martin item you mentioned above the rising card lot?

Thanks,

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Postby James Smith » 09/20/12 04:40 PM

Richard,

If you mean lot 537 then, yes, it did sell. But this is a good example of the point in hand; the estimate was 1,500-2,000 with a starting bid of 1,300 online. That means that if you were an online bidder, the minimum you could bid was 1,300 yet it ultimately sold for 1,200.

The lot I referred to earlier (583) had a minimum online bid of 700 (which was too high) so I couldn't bid, yet it sold for 300!
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Postby James Smith » 09/20/12 04:44 PM

Marco,

Do you remember lot 583 (the 1674 Leurechon), was it described as defective by the auctioneer?

Thanks,

James
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Postby JLong » 09/20/12 04:48 PM

James,

Actually when using the Liveauctioneer online service, the minimum bid amount would come up at first. Then after a slight delay, it would lower to the amount being asked in the room. First time I ever experienced that.

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Postby James Smith » 09/20/12 04:57 PM

Hi Joe,

Thanks for that. My issue is that if an auction is in the middle of a weekday (which they usually are!) I can't bid live. I have no choice but to leave my bid before-hand, so can only choose the minimum or upwards. The biggest issue with this sale was that minimums were only one or two bid increments below the lower estimate (often it's around half of the lower estimate), so were prohibitive in many cases.

Thanks,

James
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Postby JLong » 09/20/12 05:16 PM

Hi James,

I agree that it seemed very unfair to anyone who needed to leave an absentee bid for this sale. Fortunately I was able to bid live.

I hate leaving absentee/proxy bids with these services. I've had a few strange experiences in the past which makes doing so now a last resort.

Take care,

Joe
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Postby James Smith » 09/20/12 05:24 PM

Hi Joe,

My "strange experiences" are starting to mount up which is why I'm usually on a whinge after an auction!

So...to get back to the auction itself, an open question to everyone. What were your favourite lots? (it doesn't matter whether you bid and / or won, or not)

James
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Postby Bill Mullins » 09/20/12 06:12 PM

There were a number of sets of tobacco cards and other trade cards, which had been offered in the previous Bob Read auction, I believe. Were these Bob's, or Chris Pratt's?

For the most part, they didn't seem to sell. Any suggestions about contacting the right person to make an offer?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/20/12 07:21 PM

All the tobacco cards were from Chris Pratt's collection.
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 09/20/12 07:49 PM

On lots that didn't sell, you can make an offer to the auction house after the sale. There is some kind of lingo in the rules about it. I know Swanns had it.

I might be wrong, but it was some kind of percentage of the low bid, maybe half.
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Postby Marco Pusterla » 09/21/12 04:21 AM

@James: yes, it was mentioned about the wrong collation of lot 583.

@JLong: indeed, the rising cards were John Martin, and a most exciting example. I checked them out before the auction and was amazed by their quality. I have a number of mechanical packs, but this was like a Rolls Royce. Only thing was that the cards were bridge size (which would have been the standard pack size in the UK in the 1920s).

@JLong (again): it may be that the price on LA lowers... it all depends on the guy/girl manning the site in the auction room. But if a bid comes in before (s)he had a chance to lower the price, the bid is taken. Auction houses are in the business of making money :)

@Kevin: indeed, you can ask the auction house for the unsold lots. You will have to pay the reserve price plus the 28.8% buyer's premium.
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Postby AJM » 10/20/12 09:04 AM

Hi all - I wondered if anyone who was successful bidding either by telephone or internet has heard anything from the auctioneers - they appear to be strangely quiet....

Cheers

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Postby Marco Pusterla » 10/20/12 04:12 PM

I know that some people have received the invoices and the lots they won... Bloomsbury is not the quickest auctioneer in the world, but I would expect all invoices have been sent by now...
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