A 200-year-old auction house near Milnthorpe has said it has fared well despite the pandemic, thanks its resilient staff and swift action to improve online sales.

Auction Manager at 1818 Auctioneers, Bill Nelson, revealed that the business has not made any redundancies and that it is in good shape for the year ahead.

He said: “We introduced timed auctions, improved descriptions and photography and made video viewings available.

“It’s brought in new bidders, people who do all their other buying online, and younger buyers who like antiques because of their quality, uniqueness and as an anti-dote to our single-use, ‘throw-away society’.”

1818 Auctioneers rolled out a new sales calendar and ran 76 sales between April and December.

This led to record levels of online interest, bidding, and results, with top lots for the period including a Victorian cameo brooch which sold for £17,200 and a pen and ink sketch by Alfred Wainwright which made £10,200.

Mr Nelson said demand for smaller, portable items such as jewellery, coins, collectables and books, has been strong, while bulkier goods such as furniture and sculpture were less popular at the peak of pre lockdown, but the demand for interior items returned as people spent more time at home.

“After a long hard year, we’ve got through virtually unscathed and fared much better than many companies,” said Mr Nelson.

“We’ve adapted and changed so we could continue trading and keep all our staff. Our new timed auctions meant we got the best use of the space we have whilst working to COVID-19 guidance. Our sale percentages are up, price per lot has increased massively and registration for sales is also up and spread worldwide.

“We will continue as we have since coming out of lockdown with a full calendar of dates and sales for 2021.

“This year has presented our industry with operational challenges that none of us could have predicted. The pandemic’s forced everyone to work harder and faster in order to survive. I’m proud of my team, and our role in keeping this 200-year-old firm, and the ancient tradition of auctioneering, going.”