Homeware, fashion and finery that’s good for the planet – and your wallet – has never been this easy to find.
With sustainability being more of a focus now, auction houses are having their time in the spotlight. A little background: auctions began in the late 17th century, way before the depletion of natural resources was a ‘thing’. People originally bought at auction to build collections. Purchases were driven by the beauty of each item and their considered collective value – the beauty in the collection. The concept of secondhand goods just didn’t come into the picture. Auctions have always been – and still are – hunting grounds for treasure and items of note.
Where to start your auction adventure in Singapore
Hotlotz is a name you may already know – it’s a homegrown, young and energetic auction house on the outskirts of Tiong Bahru. And what’s more sustainable than buying at auction? It offers all sorts of things: antiques, brand new furniture, designer and luxury handbags, fashion, fine art, jewellery and watches.
The common thread running through its curated sales? It’s all about quality. Founder Matt Elton explains, “We fill that gap in the market; we sit somewhere between Carousell and Christie’s.”
A little background: in 2016, Matt was renovating a former sausage factory, now his home, and felt strongly that he didn’t want anything too shiny or new, interior-wise. He went looking for treasure and couldn’t believe there wasn’t a general auction house in Singapore. Six months later, Hotlotz was founded.
It’s an interesting kind of circular economy, as a lot of the items it sells – funnily enough – come from clients who have bought things at previous auctions.
Otherwise, finding objects to sell is through good, old-fashioned word-of-mouth. Sometimes it’s because people are leaving Singapore – and beautiful houses are being emptied. Or people wanting to declutter. If you can monetise something that’s sitting unworn in your wardrobe, why not? Single-owner collections are also sought after, whether it’s Asian ceramics or one woman’s designer wardrobe.
These folks hold online auctions every two weeks and sell all sorts of things, from home and decor pieces to designer and luxury fashion to jewellery and watches. Fun fact: they recently sold a 38-carat emerald ring for $60,000!
Get a piece of all the auction action
Not sure where to start? The Fine Art auction offers an eclectic mix of art, with something for everyone. You’ll find works by recognised masters on the list, alongside large-format paintings from unknown artists. The Singaporean prints are also great wall fillers!
If you’re into sprucing up your abode, look forward to the monthly Home & Decor auctions. They take place on the first Sunday of each month (get it in the diary!). These homeware sales are an interior designer’s dream; a hunting ground of sometimes quirky, sometimes classic treasures that you simply can’t walk into a store and buy.
What’s more, items are offered with realistic reserves and generally sell at reasonable prices. Tightly edited, the Home & Decor auctions are a good place to shop if you want to support the sustainability movement, whilst adding some great one-off pieces to your home.
Also, don’t miss out on the designer and luxury fashion auctions, which promise labels including Chloe, Dolce & Gabbana, Louboutin and Louis Vuitton.
Not sure how to start bidding? Here’s what you need to know
1. Hotlotz runs timed, online auctions. Sale catalogues go live on a Tuesday, just under two weeks before the auction ends, with about two auctions per month. Bids can only be placed once a catalogue is live. Auctions will always close on a Sunday from 6pm. Oh, and if you’re keen to see the items in person, head over to the saleroom at Lower Delta Road.
2. If any bid is placed in the last five minutes before a lot closes, the bidding period will be automatically extended by a further five minutes. This continues until a full five minutes have passed without another bid being placed. It’s exciting to watch when there’s a bidding frenzy!
3. To give yourself the best chance of winning an item, register to bid and leave your ‘maximum bid’. You can bid live on the night the sale is closing, but it’s less stressful to put down the maximum price you’re prepared to pay and let the platform bid intelligently on your behalf. It’ll only bid enough to keep you in the lead.
4. Remember, just like any auction house around the world, there’s a buyer’s premium. 24% will be added to the closing ‘hammer’ price. There aren’t any additional online fees or fees for paying with a credit card.
5. Winners will be sent an automated email on Sunday after the whole auction has ended, so fingers crossed for good news! Lots can be collected from the saleroom two days after the auction ends, but local and international deliveries are available upon request as well.
Now, who’s ready to start your auction adventure in Singapore?
Words by Frog Michaels
As a child, I knew if lunch was going to be worth eating – not because of the smell of cooking but because of the china. Sèvres meant good guests which, in turn, meant good food. Food and antiques have all continued to play a part in my life: I wrote ‘A Helping Hand’ cookbook – with recipes in English & Tagalog, had a food & society column for Singapore Tatler and contributed to The Telegraph and other titles. The plates continue to spin with my new job as Head of Press for Hotlotz, the auction house. Follow me on @changmoh for edits of upcoming sales.