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Times Change

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Working as an auctioneer it is important to have a love of history, an interest in design and an eye for detail as we see and value such a vast variety of items ancient and modern.

I recently saw a photograph of a friend’s father. Dating to the mid-1950’s this back and white photo portrayed his father as a young auctioneer conducting a picture sale.

In some respects the saleroom looked a familiar sight. There is the auctioneer gracefully wielding his gavel. There is a porter pointing to a painting hanging on the wall. There are several buyers in the room, some interested, some not and some trying to catch the auctioneer’s eye. But then I start to think about my next auction, on Wednesday 6th May, and how different it will look to everyone if you were to take a photograph of me on the rostrum in action.

The auction is a specialist sale devoted to motorcycles. The earliest entry is a 1911 Bradbury de-Luxe motorbike with a wicker sidecar with one of the more modern machines being a 2014 Egli-Vincent race bike.

With motorcycles covering well over 100 years of motor biking history in 90 lots there is going to be something for everyone. There is great design and innovation, many of them are beautifully detailed and others barn stored and dirty.

Usually at our auctions, especially classic car and motorcycle sales, we would have a saleroom packed full of bidders. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be holding this auction online behind closed doors, along with telephone and absentee commission bids for those with no internet, thereby keeping our staff, adhering to social distancing, buyers and sellers all safe.

Interest generated for this auction has been great. There are multiple images on all lots with many bikes also having videos uploaded. There certainly looks to be a healthy appetite for the auction. This is probably helped by bidders going stir crazy stuck at home with not much to do and the low interest rates producing little financial return or gain. Many have said much better to put the money into a classic or vintage motorcycle which can be enjoyed, although just how many have had this discussion with their partner will remain to be seen!

With most of the motorcycles still being with their owners, collection after the sale will be by professional carriers operating a no contact collection service to Government guidelines keeping everyone safe and protecting the NHS.

All the bikes, with multiple images and descriptions, can be viewed on where you can watch Richard on the rostrum wielding his gavel to an online audience.

Charterhouse are now offering valuations for entries into their next online auction of watches, luxury items including handbags, silver, jewellery and for their next specialist online auction of classic and vintage cars.

Contact Richard Bromell at Charterhouse, The Long Street Salerooms, Sherborne 01935 812277 or email images to Richard on


Over 100 years of motorcycle innovation:

1911 Bradbury de-luxe with a wicker sidecar, barn stored for decades £5,000-7,000

2014 Egli-Vincent racing motorcycle which has won specialist races in Australia and in the UK £31,000-33,000