Content Guru was behind one of the most exciting auction room dramas of the year, when the last remaining flag from the Battle of Trafalgar sold for a record-breaking £384,000. The flag had been presented to Lieutenant James Clephan of the Royal Navy, who saw action at the famous battle aboard HMS Spartiate. Clephan retired with the rank of Captain, and the flag remained in his family until it was put up for auction on the anniversary of the battle - October 21st - at the specialist maritime auction house, Charles Miller Ltd.
Content Guru’s Redwood-based storm® platform provides Charles Miller with a suite of hosted telephony services, including telephone bidding, call recording, voicemail and general inbound and outbound call traffic. The winning bid on the Trafalgar flag was placed via the storm bidding service by an anonymous American collector. The storm services include the facility to listen to the auction as it progresses. The bidders’ representatives call them just before their chosen lot comes up and they are placed on hold, though they can still hear what’s happening in the room.
Each bidder can then participate almost as if they are present in the room, because they can make judgements about the mood and choose the right moment to enter the bidding. Says Charles Miller: “storm is a valuable system for us, because it helps to extend the excitement and intensity of the bidding beyond the room and across the world, helping us to secure better prices for our clients.
“We knew that this sale was going to be highly competitive, not least because every available fixed line telephone was being used. In the end, the client bidding via storm outbid a client who was bidding through a representative in the room on a mobile phone.
“It was a dramatic moment, and the price was the highest ever paid at auction for a British flag.”
Our picture shows Charles Miller bringing down the hammer on the record-breaking bid, with the flag itself in the glass case to his left. Reflected in the glass is the winning bidder’s representative, connected to his victorious client via storm.