In an earlier life, I was a philatelist who acquired much of my collection via various stamp auctions around the world. Although I sold my stamps a while back, I still enjoy browsing the contents of local auction houses – and one of the most interesting is John Collingbourne’s weekly auction in Banglamung, Chonburi. It’s an occasion I follow most weeks and definitely visit when I am in the Pattaya area.
Having a few items lying around the apartment I no longer needed, I thought I might take a few of them over to Collingbourne Auctioneers and listen to John’s amazingly persuasive patter to an attentive audience of buyers.
After chatting to this most engaging Welshman, I learned how I can either de-clutter or clutter my living abode even more.
How did you become an auctioneer?
In 1984, I held the lease on an acre site in Newport South Wales. It was being used as a motor station and for a haulage business, but there was still a lot of spare room so I was looking for something else to do.
When the Severn Bridge was opened in my younger days it was much easier to travel to the car auctions in Bristol. I’d buy a car on Monday, sell it, and return the next week for another one. I became fascinated by auctions and the seed was sown.
Many years later, a car auction was opened on our spare land in a marquee and over the next 20 years it grew to larger premises and subsequently sold.
At first we employed funnily an auctioneer but I soon taught myself the skills so we could save the expenses. You see, I am a self-taught auctioneer and am still doing it today.
How did you end up in Thailand holding auctions?
By mistake, really. After handing over the auction to my family in Newport I opened some antique shops. My mistake was buying a hotel, working too hard and drinking too much.
I had a friend in Thailand so I came for a week’s holiday. On my return to Wales, I sold everything and came back here and bought Dok Rai resort in Rayong and ran it for ten years.
I then sold it and came to Pattaya and took up my old trades. For the past ten years or so I have been now selling antiques, motor vehicles and property.
Who sends you items to auction and who comes to bid?
A whole variety of customers send consignments to us, including those downsizing o moving from Thailand, funding a divorce, collectors from around the world selling their collections, bar and business closures.
On the other side, our bidders are the public looking for a bargain, dealers - especially in antiques - and collectors of different rare and unusual items.
How do your auctions work for sellers?
After a contact is made, we visit and value small lots. Some people bring their goods directly to us. If a client does not wish to deliver, we can collect, book in, and include all their goods on our website to be included in our next sale.
Our catalogues are free and on-line after 4 pm on Friday evenings. All goods are then sold the next day and payment is made one week later. To view a catalogue, visit: www.pattayabid.com
Our auctions consist of small antiques, kitchen furniture, fridges, freezers, electrical equipment, tools, bedroom furniture, paintings, books, bicycles, motorbikes, trucks and cars, bric-a-brac, TVs and computers as well as lots of new and antique furniture. We also get furniture from bars, restaurants and businesses that have closed down.
Do you hold auctions elsewhere?
I have conducted many property auctions in various locations around Pattaya and travel extensively to conduct charity auctions.
What are some of the most unusual items you have sold in an auction?
The most unusual item was a pink, full-size cow with white spots which realized 10,000 baht. Another interesting lot was an old box of vinyl records that sold for 100,000 baht. We have come to realize that we should never take anything for granted and always expect the unexpected.
What are the best items to auction?
Almost anything. But not knock-down PDF furniture as it normally falls to pieces.
How can we learn more about your auctions?
Buyers and sellers can go to our website (www.pattayabid.com) as everything is shown along with full details as to buying and selling