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Novice winner goes from strength to strength

Friday 02 February 2018

Auctioneer Katie Semmens is proof of the ongoing success story that is the NAVA Propertymark Novice Auctioneer of the Year awards.

Katie, a former winner of the award, is now an established auctioneer in her own right following her success in the competition.

The competition itself is sponsored by Clive Emson and Antiques Trade Gazette and involves a bidding sequence organised to demonstrate possible occurrences in the saleroom and to test the entrant’s skill, knowledge and presence on the rostrum.

Simon Bertie from Antiques Trade Gazette says he is delighted to support the competition. He said:

“ATG asks that its sponsorship money goes towards paying the conference and lodging fees of the competitors so that they can afford to attend and take part. After all, as novices, most of the competitors are often the most junior and the least able members of their companies to attend the Forum.

“The standards of auctioneering that we see in the competition are so consistently high that we are confident in the future of the profession.

“A number of competitors have found the experience to be both life and career changing.“

The latest Novice Auctioneer of the Year awards were held at the Oxford Belfry and won by Georgina Hilton. Nine budding auctioneers took part in the qualifying round before three competitors were selected to compete for the Clive Emson Rosebowl in the after-dinner final.

Lots were highly diverse including a timber-framed, seafront stilt cottage, a diesel generator, a residential property with structural damage, a Chinese vase and a former public toilet block.

Since Katie’s win in 2015, she has gone from strength to strength. She recalled:

“The win was a very proud moment in my career. It was an extremely nerve-wracking ten minutes but to actually win made it all worthwhile. It gave me more confidence to think I can actually do this, especially once you’ve warmed up and start to feel slightly less nervous – I think it’s always healthy to feel your nerves when doing something like this.

“Taking part in the competition has given me more confidence in this path of work with a couple of charity auctions under my belt and the real thing very soon.

“I think the competition provides a fantastic opportunity for novices looking for a rewarding experience and in turn it gives them a chance to get a feel for it on the rostrum, helping them to make the decisions as to whether it’s something they want to progress towards.”

One of the more unusual lots she has recently sold was a parking space in the busy holiday resort of St Ives. The space in the centre of the Cornish town, which went for the guide price of between £30,000 and £40,000 and measures just 4.4m by 2.1m (14ft 5ins by 6ft 11ins), was listed as a “parking space within popular coastal town”.

The popular tourist town has a scenic harbour and glorious sandy beaches. However, part of what gives it its charm also brings issues. As the town is made up largely of narrow streets on hills, parking is scarce and fetches premium prices.

Katie explained: “The new owner was very keen to secure the spot and made a bid which was accepted prior to the auction.”

Katie added: “They now have easy year round and secure parking with access to the town centre, and thereby its picturesque beach and harbour.

Clive Emson added: “Since winning the award, it has given Katie the confidence to take the rostrum at numerous charity events during the past two years. I have no doubt that the boost in confidence of winning such a prestigious competition has added to her performance when meeting potential and existing clients.”

This article was originally published in Issue 26 of Property Professional.