Biddle and Webb The Friendly Face Of An Auction House

Auction houses are the perfect place to get a great bargain, somewhere to get an amazing deal on a piece of jewellery, to find reasonably priced furniture and to invest in a well-priced work of art. They are also a great place to sell unwanted antique and vintage items that you no longer want or have a home for.

The credentials of an auction house to get a bargain or make you some much-needed cash cannot be questioned but auction houses are often viewed as stuffy, old-fashioned places to go, that you can accidentally buy something you weren't prepared to buy, perhaps by accidentally nodding.  However, auction houses are changing with the times as I found out when I was invited to go behind the scenes at Biddle and Webb auction house in Birmingham recently and are far more welcoming places than I originally thought.

Biddle & Webb Auctioneers are a traditional, family-run, public auction house located in the centre of Birmingham. Based in the city for over 60 years, Biddle & Webb has adapted to the changing demographics of the area and with their traditional jewellery, silver, watches, and interiors auctions are now also accompanied by property, vehicles, wine and spirits and commercial auctions.

Over the last two years, they have substantially expanded their jewellery and watches offering, with the opening of a new consignment office in Birmingham’s jewellery hotspot – The Jewellery Quarter, where their in-house qualified gemmologist, Jennifer Pardoe FGA DGA, is based.

I was invited to look around at Biddle and Webb and report back to my readers about the inner workings of an auction house.

When I arrived at Biddle and Webb I was warmly welcomed by the staff, Joyya, and Jennifer.  I was surprised that the staff I met were all young women. They were all extremely knowledgeable and well trained, so I shouldn't have been surprised, but I guess I was surprised because many programmes on TV that portray auction houses seem to feature older men.

Auctions are held on a monthly basis and you can see the up and coming auctions on their website and view the items in advance. 

For the jewellery auction, every item is inspected for hallmarks,  supporting paperwork and certificates are examined and stones like diamonds are tested, so you know you are getting an authentic item of jewellery, that is what it says it is.  I had a look around the jewellery and watches for sale and my top picks of the items for the next sale on Saturday 15th of September are below.


Opal and diamond cluster ring
Estimate £400 - £600

An early 20th Century diamond dress ring, set with Old European cut, rose cut & baguette-cut diamonds, stamped 18 & PT, ring size K
Estimate £800 - £1200

An emerald and diamond cluster ring, set with a central emerald cut emerald, measuring approx. 12x8mm, surrounded by a border of 20 old cut diamonds, set in unmarked white and yellow metal, ring size V
Estimate £1000 - £1500

A mans 1960s Breitling Navitimer chronograph pilots wrist watch
Estimate £1000 - £1500

A Victorian 18ct yellow gold cased Rotherhams of London open face key wind pocket watch
Estimate £350 - £450

A ladies stainless steel Omega Seamaster Master Co-Axial Aqua Terra wristwatch with mother of pearl dial complete with box and paperwork 
Estimate £2000 - £3000

Other Jewellery

A single stone diamond hinged bangle, set with an old cut diamond, measuring approx. 0.30/0.40ct, in a raised setting, set in unmarked yellow metal
Estimate £300 - £500

A diamond flower design brooch, total diamond weight approx 4.10ct. set with old cut brown and colourless diamonds
Estimate £1500 - £2000

A pair of Tiffany & Co. Peretti diamond starfish stud earrings, each set with sixteen graduated round brilliant cut diamonds, stamped Peretti Tiffany & Co. Spain PT950, housed in a Tiffany & Co. box

How to buy and how to sell

Buying and selling at auction is a simple process but it is different to a retail environment, for full detail
s check out the links. A simple guide to the buying and selling process at Biddle and Webb is below.

You can buy in a number of ways, in person, online and via the telephone. You need to register to do this but this can be done on the day of the auction. A photo ID is needed for this. You can also bid on the auction online live. Public viewing is also available prior to the auction so you can see the items in person if you can make it to Birmingham.

You may wonder if you can buy by mistake. If you are there in the auction house on the day, if you are a new bidder, they will check with you to ensure you meant to place the bid, so don't worry if you think you will bid by mistake. To bid, raise your hand, it's a simple and straight forward way of bidding and then cannot be mistaken.

Selling is open to everyone, from a private seller (like you or me) to a trader or collector. Your item is assessed, photos taken and a condition report written. The item is then listed in their online catalogue. 

There are costs associated with buying or selling, and this differs with the type of item. Typically if you are buying you need to pay a buyers premium on top of the value of the item, of between 15% and 20 % plus VAT. If you are selling an item the cost is typically 16% plus VAT plus a small catalogue fee on top. As fees could change check out the Biddle and Webb website for up-to-date information.

The next jewellery, silver, watches, property and interior auction on Saturday the 15th of September. Why don't you browse one of the catalogues to see if there is anything you like?

I found looking behind the scenes at Biddle and Webb fascinating and it certainly demystified how auction houses work for me.  The only problem is, I saw too many beautiful pieces of jewellery that I now want to bid on! My favourite pieces included the Tiffany earrings below. Set in platinum and studded with diamonds I think they would look exquisite on and really catch the light. Complete with box these would make a beautiful gift perhaps for a birthday, graduation or special anniversary. I will be watching this auction with interest!

If you find the auction process interesting, have a read of the Biddle and Webb blog where they talk about the business and some of the interesting stories behind the items they sell.

Have you ever bid on an auction? Are there any items shown above that have caught your eye?

Biddle & Webb Ltd
Icknield Square,
B16 0PP
United Kingdom

Phone: 0121 455 8042
Fax: 0121 454 9615

* Sponsored post all words and opinions are my own


  1. As a child I used to spend my Friday night’s and Saturday morning’s done the local auction with my dad, I’ve not been to one in years though. I really should - so many amazing deals and things to find x

    1. That sounds really exciting Stephanie! I bet you and your dad found some amazing bargains.

  2. My step dad used to deal in fine art and I have been to many an auction - sadly not actually bid myself but it is all very exciting

  3. I have never been to an auction house before and never knew about the process of buying or selling. Personally I am interested in the auction houses that sell lost luggage from airports.

  4. I've never bid on an auction or in fact been to an auction house but I'd love to. This seems like such a fun and interesting experience!

  5. I love auction much fun to sit and watch the crazy bidding wars that sometimes spring up. The saying "One person's trash is another one's winning bid" is always the one truth at auctions. This was a fun read!

  6. We love to visit more auctions and it’s always nice purchasing a bargain and something with a bit of history!

    1. I live the history behind some of the items. You should check out the Biddle and Webb blog as they have some interesting articles on there about the history of the items

  7. Not been to an aution house before, but I have watched a lot of programs on tv about auction houses and what wonderful pieces you can pick up

    1. Yes, I enjoy watching them too. Which is your favourite?

  8. My partner loves auctions and often goes to our local one to buy and sell items