The importance of print within Auctioneering

PCP’s Market Manager Emma Ball talks to Alan Blakeman of BBR Auctions and Publishing about his views on print.

With over 38 yrs of experience BBR has built a unique niche within the collecting world that is run by collectors for collectors.

As an enthusiastic collector Alan Blakeman started his business with a small A5 newsletter in 1979 for likeminded collectors and today the rapidly expanded family firm has become a world leader in all its specialist fields with regular catalogued auctions.

Alan, why do you choose to invest in a printed catalogue when there are so many alternative and accessible digital platforms?

Specialist areas require specialist solutions.

The Collectors Magazine 

After 40 years BBR has become a world read publication, keeping the wonderful world of our collectors informed and up to date with much researched material not available anywhere else.

Young people may Google everything but most often it does not come up with the articles we impart.

BBR magazine back copies are stored lovingly in binders – sounds archaic but the information contained is unique – and we want it to stay that way.

BBR Auction catalogues

So very much of our items need to be seen; thus giving a better ‘feel’ for the items themselves. One item on a screen simply does not convey this essential ‘feel’ factor.

Equally, much of our material is so rarely seen and to have a visual reference, along with the actual prices, is held in high regard by our customers.

Some past catalogues fetch good money years after on ebay!

Whilst many salesrooms are only using auction images and words online I believe they are missing out on those who A) still value the printed catalogue and B) Luddites that do not want to see images just on a screen and can’t view afterwards…. Or refer back too years later.

How does print facilitate your business objectives and growth?

Much as above…. an A4 page of full colour images imparts so much – it is highly tactile as well as being visually stimulating. Not really comparable to goods which are simply same as same as represented on a digital platform.

We travel the length and breadth of the UK taking with us bundles of past magazines & catalogues. Beginners and the inquisitive amongst us snap these up at fairs which in turn fuels interest and therefore expands our customer base.

BBR catalogues are essential to us, they are a hallmark of what we do; everyone comments they are so impressive, real eye openers.

Visitors to Elsecar Heritage Centre walk into our building and can instantly see what we are about… a very visual spread to digest – take some away, or just remember & tell others. The printed product is a very tangible form of promotion.  

Do you think social media will eventually replace printed catalogues and brochures in your industry?

BBR has produced full colour magazines, auction catalogues & many specialist books covering our fields of collecting.

In many respects our threefold production is quite unique – but certainly helps us stand out from the crowds.

Social media does affect many areas of print production, but without a doubt specialist collecting demands the printed product for its survival.

Without it the market would shrink for sure.

What sets PCP apart from its competitors?

In 40 years we have used a good many printers and only last year in 2017 stumbled upon PCP. Our graphic designer directed them our way.

I like the ease of use in sending print ready material, the first class empathetic customer care and (perhaps above all else) the incredible speed & efficiency from sending artwork to the delivery of our books.

If I lived around the corner I’d treat them all to Friday night drinks most weeks!!



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