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Who does the work at Grand Auctions?

As the country gradually returns to normal, and more and more people are returning to full time work, we thought you might be interested to read about the people who work for Grand Auctions.

We are a small auction house which has been trading for about ten years. Our staff has been loyal to the company and helped build up a fantastic reputation of knowledge about their chosen fields.

We have had some terrific items for sale over the years, to name but a few: a postcard written by Jack the Ripper; an African Tribal Dagger from Botswana of which there is only one other example in the world; we have achieved auction records for several artists including Alan Lowndes, John Bratby and Aubrey Williams, and we kicked off our first ever auction with an “Epouvantail” brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels, identical to the brooch worn by Jackie ‘O’ which sold for nearly $100,000!

Today we are highlighting the career of our Auctioneer, Dominic Kemp.

Dominic Kemp

‘An auction house is as good as its auctioneer.’ A truism that is often overlooked, but is absolutely vital. We are very lucky at Grand Auctions having Dominic Kemp as our auctioneer. Dominic has also become one of the country’s experts on twentieth century British prints. When I first met Dominic, he was just starting life as an auctioneer after several years in the acting profession. If any of you went to the Mousetrap a few years ago, Dominic was playing Sergeant Trotter (the lead role). He appeared in a number of films as various characters, but two in particular mark out his move to auctioneering.

Hollywood made a blockbuster film Miss Potter, in which René Zellwegger played Beatrix Potter and Dominic played the auctioneer who sold her the farm in the Lake District that formed the basis of her National Trust bequest. The director specifically asked for him, and he was flown out to the location to shoot without having to have any kind of audition first. The photograph of a rather smooth looking Dominic is a publicity still from the film. Clearly the boy had talent and was well suited to his new career. His second outing as an auctioneer on film was called Going, Going, Gone! It was produced for the Stop Ivory campaign. The ending was brilliantly effective and can be seen here.

Deep knowledge

Dominic’s acting abilities and deep knowledge of art are considerable qualities for his role as auctioneer. He also has a wicked sense of humour. If you have sat through as many auctions as I have, and heard the auctioneer drone on to ‘Now we come to lot 803’, then you will fully understand how a charismatic auctioneer can make the experience amusing, interesting and financially helpful for vendors. I once bought the wrong lot because I had fallen asleep and woke up with a start buying what turned out to be a bronze that looked like a bar of soap.

Dominic has a deep love of cricket and Norfolk. I can happily agree with the former, but have never really enjoyed going to Norfolk with its huge sand dunes. He was a fast-ish bowler but, like us all, became a canny medium pacer as the years passed. His team was very interesting: it comprised the Buddy Holly and the Cricketeers band with a few additions playing against the side from wherever they were singing in a concert. He also played for the Stage XI captained by Charles Collingwood, alias Brian Archer from the Archers. Great days Dominic, we look forward to seeing you again on the podium on 27 September.

To consign to this auction, or indeed any of our upcoming sales, please contact us for a free valuation.

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