Joseph Trinder,

Homes and Antiques Magazine - - AN­TIQUES NOW -

25", Lon­don

Ifound my call­ing at 14, when I did work ex­pe­ri­ence at a lo­cal auc­tion house in the school hol­i­days and at week­ends. When I was 16, they took me on as a trainee porter and salesroom as­sis­tant and I worked my way up the lad­der. ‘At col­lege, I stud­ied Art His­tory, Fine Art, English Lan­guage and Lit­er­a­ture, and did a third year of Clas­sics and An­thro­pol­ogy. There’s not re­ally a lin­ear route into this busi­ness. I was in­cred­i­bly lucky to meet a few men­tors early on who were will­ing to share their knowl­edge with me. If you don’t have that ad­van­tage, it can be a very di !cult in­dus­try to break into. ‘ When I was 18, I was work­ing as a val­uer and it was a bit of a chal­lenge some­times to have to con­vince peo­ple that I knew what I was do­ing. Nowa­days, I think I look a bit older – and have a slightly fuller beard – so it’s not as much of an is­sue.

‘ The sheer di­ver­sity of the role is amaz­ing. One day, you meet some real char­ac­ters and "nd sur­pris­ing things in peo­ple’s houses, then the next you sit in the o!ce re­search­ing. The hours can be a bit long at times – some­times you have to stay un­til the early hours to get the cat­a­logu­ing done.

‘ My "rst sale was ter­ri­fy­ing. I was so ner­vous, I for­got to bang the gavel a #er the "rst item had been bought. I sold 20 or 30 lots, le# the room, went out­side and was sick. But sale day is the high­light of the job for me now. Ge$ing up on the ros­trum is the most ex­cit­ing thing. No­body is look­ing at you – they’re just look­ing at ‘the auc­tion­eer’. It’s a mask you can put on. Time % ies when you’re sell­ing. It feels as if you’ve been up there for 10 min­utes, but a #er­wards you re­alise you’ve been up there for four hours. ‘I’ve been to manor houses and found there’s noth­ing of in­ter­est there. I’ve also pulled out £100,000 paint­ings from unas­sum­ing coun­cil houses. Once, I went into a mod­est prop­erty and found a huge col­lec­tion of gold and sil­ver ham­mered coinage from Henry VIII’s reign through to the present day, just laid out on a bed. I put them in my car care­fully – and they made £160,000 at auc­tion!

‘ I didn’t en­joy the boom days, but I’m not tied down by their le­gacy. I know what’s buoy­ant now – 20th­cen­tury de­sign, In­dian art, gold and sil­ver jew­ellery. As much as we might ap­pre­ci­ate Ge­or­gian oak and cran­berry glass – it ain’t sell­ing.’

‘My !rst sale was ter­ri­fy­ing. I was so ner­vous I for­got to bang the gavel a"er the !rst item was sold.’

Joseph Trinder is an Auc­tion­eer and Val­uer at Daw­son’s. 020 7431 9445; daw­son­sauc­tions.co.uk

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