Auction houses are not often considered a must-visit for Gen-Z-ers, who seem to be stuck in a cycle of instant, unsustainable purchases and trend-chasing.
However, one such establishment which has experienced an unprecedented amount of popularity amongst the Instagram masses sits unassumingly along a residential street, and is only a 30 minute bus ride from Kingston.
Greasby’s Auctioneers in Tooting has been open for business since 1919, but has only recently gained viral exposure on social media.
Back in March, @london_xploring posted a video of one of Greasby’s twice-monthly auctions, which has now been viewed over two million times.
Specialising in lost luggage, contraband seized by the authorities and items left behind in house clearances, Greasby’s is a cornucopia of the weird, wonderful and outright strange.
Christine Sachett is Greasby’s owner, and inherited the auction house from her father following his death.
On its sudden rise to internet fame and curiosity for items which have been lost or forgotten, she said: “There’s always been a morbid fascination for unclaimed baggage, but always taking lost property and items from house clearances tends to give the impression that it’s all we do, which it isn’t. This is a really good sales room. We are general auctioneers.”
In addition to the cabinets full of electrical appliances, brand new shoes and designer perfumes, there are plenty of more ordinary pieces of household furniture, which Christine says are perfect for up-cycling or repurposing.
Since Covid-19 hit, Greasby’s has not held a live auction due to being categorised as retail, but that hasn’t quenched the public’s thirst for viewing and enquiring about items privately. And, as Christine added: “A good viewer makes for a good buyer.”
Christine admits she should have retired seven years ago but with its popularity amongst not only social media bargain hunters but the local community, no lines are being drawn in the sand just yet.