Prudence Can Make Your Accessories The Main Event

Such was the success of Sworders’ Auctioneers first Accessories sale that specialist Prudence Hopkins has now set up a series of valuation days dedicated to the field.


Such was the success of Sworders’ Auctioneers first Accessories sale that specialist Prudence Hopkins has now set up a series of valuation days dedicated to the field.

What’s more, she says her phone has been ringing constantly since she took £6000 on the rostrum for a Ralph Lauren handbag at the June sale, and she is already on the way to uncovering a vast array of previously unrecognised accessory treasures for her next auction in December.

The first of these valuation days is not until September, but Prudence is sending out the message that there’s no need to wait till then to find out whether your attic, wardrobe or jewellery box contains classics that can be turned into cash.

She is available five days a week at the firm’s Hertford office for anyone who wants to drop in with what they find.

Prudence, who has a BA Honours in Historical Fashion and Costume and a Certificate in Gemmology, has been an auction house specialist for a number of years. She is thrilled at the new lease of life for designer handbags and couture, vintage clothing, costume jewellery, luggage, sunglasses, pens and the like.

“The first sale was extraordinary,” she says. “By putting all these beautiful items together under the Accessories title and creating a dedicated sale, Sworders fired the interest and enthusiasm of a whole new audience of collectors, who either registered to bid online or turned up at our Stansted Mountfitchet saleroom.

“Attracting completely new clientele was obviously great for us, but it was also fantastic for our vendors, because it sparked healthy competition and boosted their returns.”

Apart from the limited edition Ralph Lauren metallic crocodile skin ‘Ricky’ bag that took £6000 hammer, the sale also showed how putting lots together in this way is an excellent way of making sure you market them to the right people.

A great example of this was one of Prudence’s favourite items in the sale, a Gaberdine mink-lined raincoat. Valued at £100-200 – the sort of price it could have expected to fetch in a general sale – it sold for £750.

“Now these buyers know we hold these sales, they will be back,” says Prudence.

She defines historical as is anything before Edwardian and vintage from Edwardian until the 1960s, with couture as one-off designer pieces.

Names that tend to attract bidders include Hermès, Ralph Lauren, Christian Dior, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Schiaparelli, Fortuny, Cartier, Ossie Clark and BIBA, although, of course, there are many others too.

Sworders’ managing director Guy Schooling said: “This Accessories sale is a new category for us and we were very pleased with the buzz in the room and online. It clearly demonstrates that there is a strong market for these type of items and, more importantly, it has attracted the right new buyers who have boosted prices all round.”

Anyone who wants to drop in to Sworders’ Hertford office will find Prudence at 42 St Andrew Street. Or you can ring her on 01992 583 508.




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