In 2016 Andy Spicer was appointed saleroom manager at DAH Auctions in Driffield East Yorkshire. With over 40 years as an auctioneer and valuer at the internationally renowned auction houses Phillips and Bonhams. Andy took on his new role with great enthusiasm and experience, he then put his heart and soul into building up the business and eventually rebranding under his ownership as Spicer's Auctioneers.
By early 2017 the number of auctions had increased as had the average price per lot. Buyers were keen to attend and vendors seeing great results. This was also the time the classic car and motorcycle auctions at Sledmere House were planned to be held three times a year. These events would add a new dimension to the auction calendar locally, draw together a range of enthusiasts, owners and collectors, the thrills of the live experience, smell of oil, engines being fired up and the hope perhaps, of going home with a dream machine or some funds to spend on a new project!
Andy's knowledge and passion was driving the saleroom forward so, when presented with the chance to buy the business he realised it was an opportunity not to be missed and could build his own company and settle in Yorkshire as the owner of Spicer's Auctioneers. Quite quickly Andy realised he needed to improve the overall service to meet his clients expectations and business efficiency, he needed new technology to move Spicer's forward. The office management procedures had to be overhauled, new IT systems and software, building the website, online platform presence and communication tools to engage with more clients locally as well as globally. Spicer's was making a name for itself but also outgrowing the premises in Driffield, it was time for a move but where to?
In the summer of 2020 Andy and wife Barbara found the perfect location for Spicer's at the old Waterways Museum in Goole. Though still located in the East Riding of Yorkshire, the new premises at Dutch River Side in the docklands area were an hour's car journey from Driffield saleroom. The road networks were better though being close to the M62, A1, M18 and M1 as well as within easy reach of major cities like Sheffield, Doncaster, Leeds, Hull, York and Manchester by road or rail.
The new Waterways Saleroom would be perfect for Spicer's along with improved security, communications and fabulous surroundings it had heating, toilets, car parking and masses of storage, which were all lacking in the old premises and although they would would need to recruit more staff, as most of the existing team were unfortunately unable to make the journey, they were soon employing enthusiastic and talented locals to be trained in the auction business. Thankfully Ian Almond, Saleroom Manager and Auctioneer accompanied the move and with Steve the porter things started getting into shape with an opening to the public planned for early 2020.
Then of course came Coronavirus affecting everyone. Auctions could be held but online only, click and collect service became the norm, viewing by video calls, sorting, listing and selling in seclusion. On auction days the Saleroom was empty except for the few essential staff needed. Masks, bubbles, social distancing, lockdowns brought high streets and businesses to a standstill but the business had to go on, some events and situations cannot wait. During this period Spicer's Auctioneers managed to quietly move in to the new premises, host Zoom interviews to recruit new staff, use more social media and newspaper advertising and almost overnight began selling from the Waterways Saleroom in Goole whilst getting to know their new community and fantastic surroundings.
All of the auctions are hosted online and selling across three platforms with over 80% of the lots offered being bought by internet buyers. The internet produces very strong bidders and underbidders which has resulted in a significant lift in the average price per lot achieved and less unsold lots. In 2016 the average lot value in a Home Furnishing auction was £25, today it is in the region of £120/150 and the selling rate is regularly now over 90%.
The Classic and Vintage Car & Motorcycle auctions generate interesting entries coming from across England, Wales and Scotland. We have become the largest Classic Motorcycle auctioneer in the North of England and have the record, at £48,500, for the most expensive motorcycle sold at auction in the region.
Meet the Saleroom Team
Andy Spicer ASFAV
Director, Valuer and Auctioneer
Andy has over forty years’ experience in the Fine Art & Antiques business, having previously worked for the International auctioneers Phillips and Bonhams. His specialities are jewellery, watches, silver, coins, medals, Art Deco bronzes, motor cars and motorcycles.
Ian Almond - Saleroom Manager
I have been in a saleroom environment for over fifteen years and with Spicer's from the on start. I’m the Saleroom Manager and auctioneer. The collector’s sale is one of the many auctions I enjoy the most because it’s a forever changing and never ceases to amaze me just what people collect in the ever changing marketplace. My interests are in 20th Century antiques and collectables, live music and Motorbikes. “I’m hoping to enjoy life being happy and healthy watching my grandchildren grow up”
Barbara Spicer - General Manager
I've been helping Andy and the team occasionally since the first Classic Car and Bike sale at Sledmere. I don't know if it was the howling gale or the freezing cold but Andy and I went on to be married 2019. Every day is an adventure! Since Andy took over the business fully from Dee, Atkinson and Harrison and renamed it Spicer's we have been looking for new premises, we moved in to Dutch River Side, the old Waterways Museum in Goole, we were thrilled and delighted we were still in East Yorkshire. Initially I worked part-time but that quickly turned to full-time after I made the decision to leave my role in the public sector, for an environmental nature organisation, not surprisingly I see far more nature here in Goole daily then I ever did in my home office. I've loved being involved in planning our move, recruiting our staff and to begin welcoming people to the Waterways Saleroom. We've got lots of ideas to make this lovely location fabulous for everyone to visit. The Spicer's motto as we expand the range of goods we auction is aptly 'Variety is the Spicer's life! You might see me on the rostrum now and then as I train to be an auctioneer.
Bobby Cartwright - Saleroom Assistant
I got the amazing opportunity to start an apprenticeship at Spicers in June 2021.
I have really enjoyed my time here so far as there is always something new to learn about the business and the items sold there! All the staff are helpful, easy to talk to and generally lovely people which is comforting being the youngest there going into something so unfamiliar. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for me at Spicers.
Bobby has gone on to be awarded Apprentice of the Year in Customer Services at East Riding College and is now a permanent member of the staff at Spicer's.
Working on most of the catalogue photography you see accompanying lots for auction, as well as keeping her interest in customer services on reception and telephone, Bobby also can now run the Saleroom online bidding platform on auction days.
Mark Knowles - Saleroom Assistant Manager
I joined Spicer's in March 2021 and is part of our media team and a saleroom assistant. What interests me about this role is the variety of different things that we see everyday, and also getting to play with old cameras, it is a friendly atmosphere and there is always a coffee on the go. I like working in Goole because working next to the water brings a sense of calm to the job, although my fear of ducks is a strong as ever. “With the amount of lifting while working here, it’s saves paying for a gym membership”.
Mark has learned a lot about the running of auctions and helped us manage the back office systems so we can use the bespoke auction software to its best advantage both for customers and for us to manage stock and lotting procedures. He helps out across all auctions but has a specific knowledge and interest in vintage technology and cameras, though, as with all the staff here, this is an ever changing area depending on what we are offering for auction.
Mark is also one of our photographers and helps come up with creative ways of presenting lots, he also has experience in editing he shares with Bobby to develop her photography software and editing programmes.
Sarah Jeffers - Probate Services and Office Manager
I joined Spicers in May 2021 as a Telephone/Information Officer. This is a completely different change for me after working in the Legal Sector for 26 years as a Probate Secretary. I am really enjoying my time here as it is very diverse and extremely busy and the days just fly by. The work is so interesting and no two days are the same. It does have a family feel about the place and everyone is always on hand to help and really friendly. The customers are very friendly too. I’m learning so much about auctions every day. In my spare time I love spending time with my family and friends.
Sarah loves to keep us organised and busy. There are many tasks to be completed effectively before, during and following auction days to ensure customers have a great experience at any stage from entering goods in, registrations, collections or queries through to supporting the rest of the team during the auction process. Sarah also handles all the post and packing enquiries and does her very best to ensure we have an affordable, quick, versatile delivery service for buyers.
Stacey Parkin - Bookkeeper and Finance administrator
I joined Spicers in June 2021, I handle all the finances and payroll. With it being a small team its easy to make friends and feel part of the family unit. Everyone is so nice and helpful. I am enjoying putting my skills and knowledge to good use, I am learning something new about the auction process every day. The things people bring in are amazing, most with interesting stories behind them. I look forward to learning more about the business and building on my knowledge of such a wide and varied position.
Stacey has helped streamline all our financial systems since we moved to Goole and updated the software offering quicker and more accurate accounts for vendors and buyers as well as ensuring we all get paid on time and are up to date on our legal financial responsibilities.
Alex Alec-Smith - Book Consultant
New to auctioneering, I have been in the second hand antiquarian book trade for thirty plus years.
I look forward to working further with Spicer's!
Robbie Cumming from Narrowboat Diaries visited Spicer's before he set off on a new adventure and filming for the 2022 tv series.