Rare Mouseman pieces spark bidding war in eBay-style sale by Ripon auction house Elstob and Elstob

Ripon auction house Elstob and Elstob's staff are awaiting the climax of an eBay-style of Mouseman furniture and pieces on Sunday evening.

David Elstob with an early Mouseman cheese board

Elstob and Elstob have expanded the number of timed online sales they hold during lockdown and have found that the format appeals to a wider range of buyers who are looking to purchase items that have gone unsold at traditional auctions.

This weekend's lots include larger pieces of antique Mouseman furniture made in the Kilburn workshop of craftsman Robert Thompson, as well as several smaller items such as a cheese board.

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Auctioneer and Mouseman expert David Elstob said: "I checked this morning and we had quite a few bids and buyers registered, but it's a bit like eBay in that you tend to get bids in the last hour. It's quite exciting, and we've been handling a lot of queries about the pieces over the last few days.

Larger items of furniture are also part of the sale

"Timed sales are another way of handling things, especially at the moment when things are a little bit more difficult. We've embraced online auctions this last year, and they appeal to different types of buyer. Regular sales are quite fast-paced, you have to make quick decisions, but with timed sales you can be more considered and make reasoned choices, so it's a different audience."

Mr Elstob freely admits many of the lots did not attract interest when they were previously offered for sale in the traditional manner at his Ripon premises, yet remains optimistic that they will be claimed.

"In January, we had a silver box valued at £4-6,000 that received no bids in our sale, but when we put it on a timed auction it went for £6,500. There's a bit of luck involved, and it's about whose eyes see the right things. Second chance auctions do attract people who missed the sale the first time round.

"Mouseman is very popular, and the market is buoyant, but more so for smaller pieces like cheese boards and fruit bowls than larger items of furniture.

"The sale includes an early cheese board which is very desirable, a dressing table stool, a rare circular table from the 1940s, a bed and a nice big coffee table. There's a good mix."

Bidding closes on Sunday night at 6pm.