• From This Month's Issue

    • Time on your hands? Affordable yet collectable watches
    • Property auctions – Greek Boom?
    • Using new media to sell your buys at a profit

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If you like auctions you'll love Government Auction News! – Discover how to find thousands of Luxury items at bargain prices

New iPhones, tablets, cameras, clothing, fashion and beauty products, vehicles, wines, beers and spirits - it might surprise you what turns up at auction, it'll astound you how little you'll have to pay!

Whatever your interest in auctions might be, from earning an extra income to establishing a successful business, or from seeking out collectibles to picking up incredible bargains, discover how Government Auction News can help you find what you're looking for.

What are "Government Auctions"?

Established 25 years ago, Government Auction News is the UK's premier auction information service

From our offices in Fleet Street, central London, we publish a whole range of newsletters, specialist courses, books and insider reports. Since 1990 our regular readers have been cashing in on some incredible bargains, and you can do the same.

You'll get all the latest news, clear and concise advice, special features, and investment advice on what to buy and what to pay. Learn how maximize value, turn a profit, avoid common auction mistakes and much more besides.

With over 250,000 satisfied customers over the years, Government Auction News has been recommended by BBC and ITV, national and local radio, The Times, Telegraph, Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Mirror, FHM Magazine among others,. Our publications are also referred to by official bodies such as the Department for Business Innovation & Skills, the Department of Environment and Her Majesty's Stationery Office.

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For pleasure and for profit

Providing details of over 1,200 auctions taking place each month throughout the whole of the UK, Government Auction News shows you where the bargains are to be found in your region and online.

You really can buy goods at prices that will make you think you are dreaming - up to 95% off the normal price week in, week out..

Celebrating 25 years - 1990-2015

"By far and away the best publication of its kind. Very impressive"
- Simon Davies, Chester

"I've gone into the property rental business thanks to Government Auction News"
- Steve Brown, Kent

"I paid £32 for this chair and sold it two weeks later for £270."
- Jay Singh, Leicestershire

"A brand new bathroom for just £120."
- Joanne Lee, Wales

GAN Editor Stuart Maclaren explains how Government Auction News will lead you to bargain after bargain after bargain:

Imagine if every month you were alerted to thousands of unbelievable bargains that not only could save you hundreds of pounds but also had the potential to make you profits in the region of 500%. What would you do with that information?

Would you use it to improve your lifestyle buying luxury items you've long wanted for yourself, or would you be tempted to turn your knowledge into a quick profit with little or no effort?

Our regular readers are already cashing in on some fabulous bargains, and you can do the same. It's hassle free and fun, and I'd like to show you the easiest way you can get in on this simple strategy.

Why are the prices of these luxury items so low? Well, each month thousands of organisations sell goods at auction and they want to get rid of them fast. It doesn't take a genius to work out that the speediest way to sell something is to accept a very low price.

That's why most of these auctions are NO-RESERVE PRICE sales, that is to say the goods must be sold there and then with no lower price limit. The 'best bid' wins irrespective of realistic values or market prices - you could literally pay just a few pounds for something that's worth hundreds!

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Take the police, for example. They use these auctions to unload vast quantities of lost and unclaimed property, everything from computers and mobile phones to video cameras and iPods, cars, boats and even caravans!

Company receivers and insolvency practitioners dispose of bankruptcy stock by the same means, while HM Customs & Excise are interested in selling off confiscated and impounded items. In every case, the vendor is interested in a quick and easy sale - so there are always thousands of bargains to be had.

So, if you're willing to attend a few of these auctions each month it will be possible for you to pick up bargain after bargain after bargain. You can buy goods at prices that will make you think you are dreaming - up to 95% off the normal price week in, week out.

But if you look in the mainstream press for these sales, you'll be lucky to find them. Often these sales aren't publicised and that can make it difficult for beginners. But don't worry, that's where Government Auction News comes in.

Government Auction News provides details of over 1,200 auctions taking place each month throughout the whole of the UK and the Republic of Ireland, and shows you where the bargains are to be found in your region, the type of auction and when it will take place.

Whether you are interested in bankrupts stocks, police lost and found, airport lost property, ex-catalogue stocks, trade stocks, Government surplus, antiques and collectibles, property, plant and machinery, cars, boats or bicycles... Government Auction News will steer you to the very best bargains.

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From this month's issue:

Time On My Hands

Finding a profitable niche in the antiques and collectibles market can be tricky – and finding someone who has discovered one and is willing to talk about it is almost a miracle. GAN's recent wristwatch review detected a growing market in cheaper but good-quality watches that don't bear the famous names. One successful dealer's trick has been to tune in to the growing appreciation of these lesser models and makes of the 1940s and 1950s. His prices are kept low because retailing expenses are next to nothing and the restoration bill is nil.

Pressed from both sides by competition from local and Internet auctions, he nonetheless sells his watches at a slight premium – for the single reason that remote buying is hazardous and customers have little security. They appreciate knowing their purchase has been vetted by an expert and that they will get some redress if it stops ticking. Sadly for him, though, sales were down before Christmas with his margin squeezed and annual takings down 30% because, as he freely admits, some very reputable Internet watch sellers have now latched on to this market and offer similar guarantees. These can, and do, compete. Naturally, he would not name them.

Any quick learner ready to put in some very hard work could rapidly acquire the very basic skills, but the pitfalls are many and experience is the key.

A browse through his stock is enlightening: it gives an idea of what criteria he applies when looking for suitable watches that he can be proud to sell.

His ground rules are:

  • Buy wristwatches from around the mid-C20th; earlier ones generally cost too much and later ones, post-1970, and many post-1960, are just nasty.
  • Only sell watches in good working order. Leave them completely un-restored, with all the signs of wear or long use, much loved by this emerging group of discerning collectors.
  • Test watches for about 150 hours, and sell only those found accurate within the normal limits for mechanical watches of the period (about three minutes in 24 hours).
  • Whatever straps or bracelets, even modern ones, come with the watch, leave with the watch – because customers enjoy making their own choice anyway. If you buy a bargain, sell a bargain.
  • Tell buyers to get them serviced and cleaned.

The modest prices are set accordingly.

Some makes to look out for

Just to focus on one or two of these watches helps us to drill down to some of the detail and pedigree – for that is where the secret of the value, and profit, lies. Prices are in the £20–£90 range, with only one or two men’s watches a little over the £70 cut-off point that seems to be the limit for the casual customer who just wants a nice old watch. And that is what this first item is: a beautiful 1940s Smiths men’s watch, £60, with a story. Strange – a watch made in England, not Switzerland – you don’t see that very often. More strange: the face has been rotated 180 degrees to put the winder on the left. This will sell in a trice, to a right-hand wearer, he says.

Now an unusual and rather rare item, a bit of an exception because it has a famous name: a Stauffer ‘Peertone’ gentleman’s mid-1930s model with a two-tone dial. It is hard to resist that impulse so familiar to auction people – “I don’t want somebody else to have that… I’ll have it” – but self-restraint prevails. The name Stauffer is associated with high-quality IWC Swiss movements, and it makes some collectors salivate: this company was the importer of IWC watches into the UK. Apparently, many in the watch world are unaware that ‘Peertone’ is a Stauffer marque. This rare watch, worth perhaps £120 or more, has a fine patina, its case now dulled slightly by atmosphere and time and scratched by use. It will go to shop retail or auction, he says.

For comparison, he chose another name: a 1940s Benson ladies’ watch – notable because it was being offered with its original ‘returns’ box displaying the Bond Street address on the lid. With its Swiss or possibly French innards it seemed cheap at £35, given that it will certainly be fitted with a high-quality movement. You can hardly give away even classic ladies’ watches, he says, but the box is worth £15.

Next, a humble Sekonda ladies’ watch, plain design in bright steel case with brushed steel face, 17 jewels, late 1960s, Russian-made with original bracelet. What’s this? Another give-away price: £15. True: the word Sekonda is not often on the lips of vintage watch collectors, but its early mechanical watches may become classics. The company set up production in Soviet Russia, where some of the best movements were being made at the time; it then moved out rapidly when the USSR broke up – taking production to Japan and dominating the quartz market.

Catching the eye was a men’s Arnex gold-plated luxury watch of superb mellow character, early 1950s, the case stamped “London Made”: £65. In these early years, this Swiss company made superb watches. This movement was housed in a plated English case to offer a mid-range model. Later it sold its name and lost its luxury image. The watch speaks of inner quality and the patina is superb: the gold plating is now well rubbed and the glass grown misty by the myriad tiny scratches associated with regular wear. The British Watchcase Company has stamped it “Made in England”. Rarely do vintage watches evoke their era as effectively as this charming piece. Now, here’s a £30 ‘Tell’ gents’ watch: “That would be William Tell – a bit like ‘McJock Whisky’,” he says. “You can have it if you can find out who made it” – but look at the wide face and the very narrow bezel – superb design.

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