Occasionally as I am sat outside a client’s house, in my van (well Biddle & Webb’s but it feels like mine and I do wash it) I do think back to the time when I started at BW. The day is still clear in my mind and I can even remember the date 12th Feb 1992, walking into the building and meeting Jeremy Thornton for the first time. A short chat, and handshake and I was hired and set to work in the general saleroom.
In those days a general porter helped across the whole business, from the commercial sale, collector’s auction, through antiques, fine art, and toys. This broad experience has certainly done me good, as I now put this wealth of acquired knowledge to work when I meet people in their homes.
I had heard so much as about this Birmingham auction as my father had worked as a transport contractor for Mr Biddle collecting antiques and fine art across the city.
Funny how things turn out, as collecting items is part of my role today with BW, visiting clients, valuing objects and if they are happy, often putting them straight into the van and delivering to the saleroom for auction.
The bit about my job I love most is meeting fascinating people and hearing their stories, and of course seeing the often varied and extensive collections.
A call earlier this year perfectly illustrates why I love my job, when I visited a typical three bedroomed semi-detached house in the city. The client’s calls to the office had asked if someone could pop out and see some clocks.
So Cheryl booked me the house visit and off I went a day or two later, only to find not the expected one longcase and mantle clock, but a whole house stuffed with clocks. I counted at the time 15 longcase clocks, dozens of mantle clocks, clock parts, spare weights, and over 50 pocket watches. There was not just volume, but my 20 year plus experience told me immediately that there was real quality as well. I spotted a Tiffany clock just on the bed, and Liberty silver carriage clock. I am delighted to say these and dozens of other clocks have been sold and are now living happily in someone else’s house.
I have an exceptional memory for items, and maybe I’ll see some of those clocks again in another 20 years. It’s funny how things do go full circle.