► Re-opening of non-essential businesses means car auctions are on
► Existing dates are being pushed back to accommodate
► Are we looking at normality by the summer?
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to ease the nation’s lockdown rules has led to a series of changes for the classic market – although some auctioneers are planning to stick with existing plans.
Anglia Car Auctions, Historics and Charterhouse have all altered their plans to accommodate the government’s four-stage plan to re-open parts of the economy as COVID-19 cases drop UK and more of the population is vaccinated. The key date is the start of the second stage on 12 April, when non-essential retailers – including classic auctioneers and car dealers – will be able to re-open their premises.
The easing of restrictions will mean that buyers will be able to resume viewing cars at socially distanced appointments ahead of auctions, although it’s unlikely that traditional ‘live’ sales, with bidding on-site, will be allowed in its ‘normal’ form before the final stages of the planned easing in June.
Keeping sales, moving dates
Anglia Car Auctions’ second sale of the year was scheduled for just before this date – a two-day auction, on 10-11 April – but with its first sale pushed back, the online April sale has been moved to 1-2 May. ACA’s Lyn George said: ‘We have moved back the April auction as there would have been just six weeks between the February and April sales.’ ACA has also confirmed a push-back of its 19-20 June sale to 26-27 June.
Morris Leslie’s 13 March sale is still going ahead as planned, but Historics has cancelled its 23 April Monaco sale and moved its Ascot sale back a month, to 17 April. Historics’ founder and managing director, Mark Perkins, said: ‘Throughout 2020 we resisted surrendering to an exclusively online auction presence. We remain utterly committed to continuing to stage open-to-public sales, with online bidding for those unable to attend in person, of course.
‘Through the support of our auction partner, Ascot Racecourse and the goodwill and commitment of those who have consigned to the sale, we have moved our Spring sale back by three weeks.’
Charterhouse’s first sale of the year, scheduled for 11 April at the Haynes International Motor Museum, has been postponed for the simple reason that the venue will not be open then. However, a spokesman for Classic Car Auctions and Silverstone Auctions said that it is planning to continue with its plans for virtual auctions on 26-27 March. South Western Vehicle Auctions – having already delayed its opening sale of 2021 in response to the latest lockdown – is carrying on with its 26 March sale and Manor Park Classics is planning to stick with its 27 April date for its inaugural classic auction.
CCW’s markets editor, Richard Barnett, said: ‘Last week’s announcement of a gradual lockdown easing has put the classic auction industry on stand-by, with immediately forthcoming sales going ahead as planned.
‘However, the news that some non-essential businesses will be able to open from 12 April has provided a much-needed light at the end of what has felt like an extremely long tunnel.’
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