Frank Barne

Sworders Sale­room Man­ager, re­spon­si­ble for co­or­di­nat­ing both salesrooms in Hert­ford & Stansted

Homes and Antiques Magazine - - ANTIQUES NOW -

Frank has been at Sworders for 11 years, work­ing for Phillips and Bonhams for 25 years be­fore that, and is an in­te­gral part of the com­pany. He and his team store lots safely as they come in, cre­ate room sets and dis­plays for each sale, and en­sure safe col­lec­tion of goods af­ter the auc­tion has taken place.

‘I started out as a porter, then be­came a val­uer and an op­er­a­tions man­ager. My fa­ther worked in a fac­tory for 40 years pulling a lever and hated ev­ery minute of it. I thought that was very sad and vowed to en­joy my work – I’ve been in the auc­tion busi­ness for 35 years and the thing I love most about it is that ev­ery day is dif­fer­ent. ‘House con­tents sales where we run the auc­tion on site at the prop­erty, for ex­am­ple at North Mymms Park this April, are es­pe­cially good fun. I re­mem­ber all of our land­mark sales fondly.

‘Team­work is very im­por­tant in an auc­tion house – once a wardrobe has been val­ued, for ex­am­ple, it has to be moved as well. Although it has been 10 years since Sworders’ new premises were built, we’ve sub­se­quently ex­tended it with a huge pur­pose-built store, where we can care­fully house fur­ni­ture and paint­ings. I’m 57 years old and have been mov­ing fur­ni­ture for a long time, so it’s taken its toll. Sack bar­rows and trol­leys do not get tired, how­ever, and we have two younger and fit­ter porters, who do most of the stren­u­ous work. While a jewellery sale can be car­ried in and out of the salesroom in five min­utes, the big­ger sales are much more chal­leng­ing and can take up to two weeks to set up.

‘Dis­play­ing the lots for The An­niver­sary Sale will be my favourite part of this project. Firstly, you need an artis­tic eye to cre­ate room sets, but there are other fac­tors to con­sider too, from what you po­si­tion around a piece to what you place on top of it. Good light­ing is im­por­tant as well. If all our pro­cesses are in place and ad­hered to, there will be no po­ten­tial pit­falls on the day – it will all go as smoothly as clock­work.’

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