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Cameo Auctioneers - Film & Music Memorabilia Sales, Collectors Sales, Football & Sporting Sales





Cameo Specialist Auctioneers


Cameo Specialist Auctioneers

Cameo Specialist Auctioneers


Cameo Specialist Auctioneers - Film & Music Memorabilia Sales, Collectors Sales, Football & Sporting Sales


Here Digger talks to Glenn at Cameo Specialist Auctioneers about their specialist film and music auction. Cameo started as a small family antiques business and is now one of the main players in UK auctions.





Glenn: Hello… Cameo Auctioneers.

Digger: Hello Glenn. It’s David at

Glenn: Hello David.

Digger: What’s your background, Glenn?

Glenn: I’m new to the industry. I used to run my own businesses. John, the owner of the business, is my brother-in-law. So we’ve always had a 'hand-in-hand' with what we’re doing. Consequently, about a year and a half ago, he just decided to ask if I wanted to do this and I did it.

Digger: Go on then! You said.

Glenn: I didn’t really want to then but now I wouldn’t know what else to do.

Digger: How did Cameo start and how has it evolved?

Glenn: Yes, really John’s father was in the antiques business so that’s where John’s passion and knowledge came from. He worked part-time with his dad and then his dad used to have a shop selling antiques and that’s how John gained his knowledge. And his interest.

Digger: I saw a programme a couple of years back and Gerry Robinson went in and sorted them out. It was a family-run auction house and they were trying to decide whether the son or daughter would take it over, if indeed they wanted to. It was fascinating.

Glenn: Yes, they’re always interesting those sort of things aren’t they?

Digger: Seeing the father who has established the company and rather set in his ways and the young son bringing in lots of new technology, which seemed like a complication and an expense, but which actually worked very well and helped the business and the clients. It transformed the business.

Glenn: That’s what it’s all about isn’t it, better ideas?

Digger: Yes. So can you give us an idea of the diversity of the specialist auctions you offer? 

Glenn: I think that’s where the strength of this auction saleroom is. John’s father was never involved in this business and John’s done this all on his own. As usual, he started from a humble background and moved into larger premises and now into bespoke premises where we are now. This has all happened as the business has grown. We now have two salerooms and so are able to offer the bespoke auctions and options that we do. We do music – rare vinyl and film posters, obviously music posters and we’ve got a really unique teddy auction coming up. We just call it Teddy Bears Galore.

Digger: Because the teddy bear museum that Giles Brandreth started at Stratford-Upon-Avon closed down, didn’t it?

Glenn: You know more than me.

Digger: All the stock went to south London so you may be getting that going through your auctions at some stage.

Glenn: We’ve got about 1,000 teddy bears of all designs and guises here, from soft cuddly ones to hard china ones. What we try and do, now we’ve got the specialist saleroom, is to try and attract specialist collector sales so we can lay them on there. That’s the kind of diversification – we used to sell toys through the conventional auction but now we have the specialist rooms.

Digger: The Internet and the phone bidders – I suppose that’s quite a big thing now, is it?

Glenn: It’s revolutionised things. It’s great in lots of ways because we have a worldwide audience now. The disadvantage is that we now become debt collectors because everyone doesn’t always pay on time. Customers are used to a conventional auction house, but we probably take 50% of our money now on sale day and the rest can be strung out over quite a period. Because it’s a global scenario, people have got different priorities and of course our poor vendors don’t realise. They see the hammer go down and think they’re going to get the money the next day. Life isn’t quite like that, but having said that what it has done is establish a global market and obviously increase prices.

Digger: Do they see you on their webcam?

Glenn: No, we’ve got sound but we don’t do the webcam at the moment. You can do it that way but we don’t. What’s also interesting on that side is that we do a specialist evening sale and we’re one of the few auction houses to do this. We’re appealing to the east coast of America.

Digger: I see.

Glenn: Most of the traditional auction houses have stayed as you describe – “Technology, what’s that?” Whereas we’re now trying to ensure we’re moving to suit the global market as best you can.

Digger: And compete with that horrible global ‘auction’ that I won’t mention the name of!

Glenn: eBay? Funnily enough, I think they do a job. The problem we’ve got is that we’ve got customers who try to sell their stuff on eBay and then come back to us and say “I couldn’t sell it on there, you can sell it.” And we say “Thank you very much – you can’t sell it on there so we’ll not be able to sell it.” 

Digger: (Laughs) I was on eBay in the mid to late nineties buying and selling movie memorabilia and it’s changed. Although it was rough at the edges then at least it was honest. Now it is literally a worldwide boot or garage sale.

Glenn: Yes.

Digger: You’ll have a quality, classy item competing against pretenders and it devalues everything.

Glenn: Yes, but I think all markets have their cycle don’t they? I think it has done lots of positive things but equally it’s done lots of negatives. What we’re trying to do, probably like every auction sale room, is we’re trying to move away from the traditional auction customer. They have seen Antiques Roadshow and think everything is worth £100,000 and come in with a pile of old plates – the biggest load of old rubbish you’ve ever seen. And you’ve obviously got to be very polite and constructive and turn them away.

Digger: One of my vinyl clients had a customer who brought along a dozen Elvis albums in a plastic bag and said they wanted to sell them to pay for their new double glazing. (Both laugh) The same albums that millions of people have got and not even in particularly good condition.

Glenn: That’s the other problem. You ask somebody what kind of condition are they in and everything’s in mint. “Have you played them?” “Yes.” “Well, they’re not in mint condition then as the chances are there will be surface scratches or wear of some kind. "






Digger: Good point.

Glenn: Occasionally we get some little gems, of course we do, but nevertheless that’s the scenario. Also on the music memorabilia we’re broadening the music sales. They started as a vinyl offering but we’re now broadening the spectrum into memorabilia so we had a Jimi Hendrix guitar and some Bob Dylan paintings and things like that. Really unusual stuff as well as autographs and more conventional memorabilia. We are trying to spread that focus so that it’s not just vinyl.

Digger: You might end up having a urinal, like they sold in America, where all the rock stars at that New York club had allegedly used it.

Glenn: It's weird isn’t it? So that’s what we’re trying to do, some more unusual stuff whilst keeping our traditional base downstairs. That’s our bread and butter area if you like and upstairs we’re doing all the specialists. 

Digger: What are the best aspects of the job for you? You said that you came into it kicking and screaming, so what’s changed?

Glenn: You meet a varied selection of people, of all kinds of intellect and education and background and character. And as a result it’s very interesting. I’m a jovial and happy-go-lucky fellow but I must say that occasionally you meet people who are a bit miserable. I got a call from one client who brought some items in for sale in July and he wondered why we hadn’t sold them all. I explained “No, they all go into different sales – we don’t put them all in one sale.” He said “Why’s that then?” And I said “We don’t want to put stamps in a coin collection.” “Why not?” he said.

Digger: Most people with a brain will know that if you put it in the right auction it will fly but if you put it in the wrong one it will die.”

Glenn: I said to him “We don’t make any money unless we sell an item, and usually we don’t charge for entry. It’s all inclusive in our price. But if we don’t sell it we don’t make any money.” And I don’t understand these people – you go onto eBay and you’ve got an entry fee whether you sell it or not. It might be a cheaper fee but you have got that. I don’t understand the mentality of some people.

Digger: What is the commission, 15%?

Glenn: Buying commission is 15%, yes. A standard. And one of the things we’ve done this year is develop our computer software. We’re not perfect yet and we’ve got a lot more to do but we are progressive. John is computer literate and likes the concept and so am I and we’ve got to get more involved.

Digger: The only thing in life that’s guaranteed, apart from the ultimately inevitable, is change isn’t it?

Glenn: Yes.

Digger: So we have to embrace it really.

Glenn: You can see that with the traditional auction goers. They can’t take it because they’re not used to change. They’re still dealing in cash. All our catalogues are web-based and available online. We try to be as reactive as we possibly can. And we also have to maintain our ‘personality’ within the business and that’s what we try to do.

Digger: You are lucky that you have the online presence but you’re always, obviously, going to have a physical presence as well so that’s an advantage.

Glenn: Yes, but if I said that the online now dominates it – if I take the last music sale we probably had fifty people in the sale room but at any one time we probably had 150 bidding online and probably 250 registered to bid. And that’s phenomenal – being able to do that in the comfort of your own home with a glass of wine. It’s absolutely brilliant. Tomorrow night we’re doing an online sale only. We don’t open the sale room, although we obviously have a viewing in the conventional sense, but we are here – all of our customers are at home at 7 o’clock. To me that’s a more beneficial way of physically doing it.

Digger: And, of course, you’re getting them when it suits them rather than at the weekend with the traditional thing.







Glenn: Yes. So we try to be as progressive as we possibly can. You’ve always got to learn and adapt.

Digger: So what are the best sellers and what would you say are the best investments at the moment?

Glenn: I would say anything Beatle-related absolutely flies out the door. We sold a Jimi Hendrix guitar and it was when he was first on the stage as Jimmy James when he was playing in a backing group to The Isley Brothers. We sold that last week for 170 grand. When you look at the guitar you might expect a great big star-spangled guitar.

Digger: But it was something very basic because it was from his very early days?

Glenn: Exactly. But the great thing about it was when I went down to meet the guy who owned it and got all the history that went behind it. When you have that you can put all that history behind the piece and embellish it and that’s when the item becomes really exiting and interesting.

Digger: If, say, I had a collection of Beatles-related letters, maybe from one of their girlfriends, how would you go about valuing those?

Glenn: Because there would be nothing to compare them with, it would have to be based on them being unique. I’d have to say that we’d take a punt. Based on the uniqueness of them we’d have to create a story and ambience of the whole situation and make sure we promoted it correctly and then go that way. To give you an idea, a couple of months ago we have a lady came in and she brought in some Beatles photos which she’d taken when she was a young girl. She was living in Surrey and they were all living in and around that area. She knocked on the door and Paul welcomed her in, and this before their really big fame, and then said “If you want to go and photo the rest of the boys, here’s their addresses.” So she had personal, unpublished photographs and the photographs were of terrible quality, obviously taken on her own little Brownie camera or whatever you want to call them in those days. Kodak instamatic or whatever. But the fact is they were original and no-one else had seen them and they sold for £10,500.

Digger: Wow. How many were there?

Glenn: There were about fifty in total but only ten or twelve usable ones. But we got £10,500 for them because they were unique. That’s the point – unpublished, unique, sold with copyright and people actually want unique items that nobody else has got. We valued them at £2,500 and they went to the States.

Digger: A good investment.

Glenn: Absolutely. Everything Beatles is hot.

Digger: It’s not going to go down, is it?

Glenn: It’s such a global brand so it just flies out the door.

Digger: Can I ask you about your future plans? You’ve alluded to them already in terms of trying out new things.

Glenn: I think to develop the specialist auctions and the traditional ones will keep us going and provide the basis. It’s the specialist ones that we want to continue to do because, what we’re finding from there is that you bring other items in. People come in with a coin collection and they’ve always got, I don’t know, a vase or something else that we can put in the general auction. We want to develop more the bespoke auctions – we’re doing one for early December and we’re trying to mix and match them. We’re calling them collector’s sales but we’re doing them in 150 lots - 150 coins, 150 antiquities, 150 stamps. What we’re trying to do is mix and match.

Digger: Does that mean that people can dip in and out throughout the day?

Glenn: Rather than have them like most auctions do have them here in the morning and wait for lot number 600 which comes up in the afternoon, what we try and do is have the specialist collectors all in a huddle together and attract them that way.

Digger: And then, of course, it obviously generates the competition that you need as well.

Glenn: Correct. That’s how we are trying to tailor them for our customer’s needs but also, as you intimated, get people fighting for the same thing.

Digger: It’s great theatre when that happens.

Glenn: Yes, and I like the idea that we can start finding and unraveling different types of things. At the moment brown furniture is dead and the price they are getting is ridiculous. For what I’d call a cherished antique there’s no problem.

Digger: Even the charity shops were turning away the brown furniture.

Glenn: Yes, we work with Help The Aged and Age UK and they are stuffed to the gunnels with that stuff. I don’t know if you saw that vase that went for 42 million on the TV the other day? I would have liked that.

Digger: No I didn’t see that. What was it?

Glenn: A little Chinese vase and it was at Bainbridge’s down in Surrey and they came across it and it was bought by a Chinese with new world money for 42 million. There are still items out there.

Digger: A nice commission.

Glenn: Exactly, I understand the auctioneer broke his gavel as he put it down. (Both laugh) I can imagine him sweating.

Digger: A good day’s work.

Glenn: I bet he wasn’t in the next day!

Digger: Thanks Glenn.

Glenn: Thanks David.





Cameo Specialist Auctioneers

Cameo Specialist Auctioneers

Cameo Specialist Auctioneers



We are an established auction house based in Midgham, just off junction 12 of the M4 near Reading, Berkshire in the UK.
  • Film & Music Memorabilia Sales
  • Collectors Sales
  • Football & Sporting Sales

Cameo Fine Art Auctioneers
Kennet Holme Farm
Bath Road
Midgham, Berkshire
United Kingdom

Tel: 0118 9713772

Cameo Auctioneers are always interested in:

Die cast toys, Hornby and Triang model railway all gauges, Militaria and arms & armour, Medals, Fishing, Golfing antique and collectable sporting goods, Ephemera comics, Postcards, Cigarette cards, Scientific Equipment, Globes, Compasses, Clocks, Grandfather, Longcase, Mantle, Carriage, Marine, Antique and Collectable Soft Toys, Miniatures silhouette's, Musical Instruments, Antique Boxes, Edged Weapons, Cameras and Photography, Chronometers, Barometers, Rock & Pop Memorabilia, Victorian China Dolls, Tin Toys, Tribal Art, Silver & Silver plate, Glassware, Gold & Jewellery, Brass & Copperware, Quality Rugs & Carpets, Bronze Figures & Statues & Sculptures, Paintings, Pictures & Prints, Architectural and Garden, Kitchenware, Lamps & Lighting, Glass Objects and Paperweights, Pottery & porcelain, Beswick, Royal Doulton, Sylvac, Christopher Dresser, Clarice Cliff, Faberge, Lalique, Mieson, Staffordshire, Poole, Majolica, Wedgwood, Blue & White China, Commemorative Ware, Sevres 






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