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Auction houses offer the essential service of telephone bidding for clients who cannot personally attend an auction.

It is a service, like most of their services, which has a caveat meaning that if they don't get in touch with you, it is too bad. Like taxi drivers whose bad driving makes all taxis culpable, one poorly run auction house tars the rest. Some auction houses are very well organized and others are not. I might add that I have known small auction houses that service their clients very well and large well established ones that just can't do anything right.

I am on this subject because an auction house missed a bid of mine. How would you feel if it was your item that didn't have all the bidders on it that were possible? Stuff happens, but in the last year I have had three bids lost out of approximately twenty I have left in place.

If I was a consignor, I would be concerned!