ROVING auction house The Auction Room hosted its first sale in Winkleigh Village Hall last weekend.
The Auction Room is a new travelling auction business set up by former police officer Melanie James.
The idea behind the venture is to bring a less formal more fun auction experience to people who haven’t been to an auction before.
Mel is known as Mel-Bay by her former colleagues for her obsession with online auction site eBay.
The first auction was held in Winkleigh where Mel lives.
She said: “The concept is a pop-up auction not tied to a specific venue, I chose Winkleigh as it’s close to home.
“It started as a hobby but I’ve been overwhelmed by people looking to sell their items, demand has been so high I’ve had to start a business.”
Among the furniture and other standard auction fare are a few stranger pieces including a cell door from Dartmoor prison.
Mel marketed the event in the village and online, inviting residents to bring along antiques and items to consultations before the actual auction.
The first event on Saturday, August 16, was well attended, Mel was rushed off her feet trying to keep up with demand.
Mel has enlisted the help of Oxford Auction House auctioneer, John Mostyn, to sell the goods.
Around 200 people visited the sale and more than 1,000 people viewed the items on Facebook.
Already Mel is fielding calls from interested parties in South Molton and Bradworthy looking for an auction in their area.
The second event is now scheduled for Saturday, September 13, again in Winkleigh Village Hall.
Melanie is also looking into making auctions more accessible to people by conducting auctions mid-week or in the evening.
It was a change in circumstances which prompted Mel to consider the radical departure from policing.
She said: “I lost my mum to cancer two years ago, it changed my outlook considerably.
“I fancied doing something different while staying close to my family.”
Melanie believes television has played a role in making auctions fashionable.
She said: “I think a lot of the interest is due to the many television shows which revolve around antiques and auctions.
“Come and take part yourself, it’s friendly, it’s local and it’s fun.”