At the end of October 2012 we decided to put up for auction 12 Planet Brothers pigeons.
The purpose of the sale was to kick start the John Squibb Memorial Fund and it was appropriate that it fell almost on the 8th anniversary of his departure from this world.
We had not tested the functionality of the online auction facility and this auction was to give us the opportunity to do this. As it was a charity auction, any mishaps would have less of an impact.
We allowed 3 days for the viewing of the birds and it was all done in a bit of a rush, no surprises there. The photographs of the birds coincided with the end of the birds moult and consequently they were not perfect. The eyes were a little out of focus and eventually had to be taken with our i phone. In all it was a practice session and from now on it can only get better.

A couple of full page adverts were placed in the two UK pigeon journals, so there was no excuses for fanciers not to be aware of the sale. Traffic on the website was dramatically increased in the run up to the auction and on the Thursday evening at 9.05 pm the first of the birds was sold, making £370. It was a promising start and the lucky purchaser was a fancier that bought birds from us way back in the late 1980’s proving that fanciers still have immense confidence in our pigeons.
Lot 2 a beautiful small Blue hen was next to be sold and brisk bidding saw her go for £720. A healthy sum for the charity and a new buyer of our birds. This small hen will turn into a stunner and many fanciers remarked on how well she looked in the photograph.
Lot 3 saw one of our favourites go up for sale and he was to make a disappointing £260. This bird would normally make 4 figures from our loft and the lucky purchaser was delighted when we delivered the bird to his house.
Lot 4 a super cock from one of our best stock cocks made £410, once again well below his true value. The purchaser went on to buy Lot 9 and Lot 10 with the money he saved from getting Lot 4 so cheap and now has the start of a good team of Planet pigeons for next year.
Lot 5 went to a single purchaser in Liverpool for £190, and Lot 6 went to the same buyer as Lot 3 for £260. The buyer of Lot 3 and 6 did not realise that he had bought a brother and sister and upon speaking to him, he did not want to part with either.
Lot 7 and Lot 11 were bought by an existing customer for £200 each, extreme bargains and one that we have no regrets about because the person in question is making a serious attempt to change his racing career.
Lot 8 went to a fancier who previously bought one of our Limited Edition Stock pairs in 2011.
The pair in question turned out to be 2 cocks and he paired them to two of his existing family. The result was winners from both pairs, proving once again that the Planet pigeons make excellent crosses.
Lot 12 finalised the auction bringing in £190.
The bird once again bought by a fancier that has had our birds for 30 years.
With all the Lots finishing 5 minutes apart, the auction had lasted 1 hour. It was a roller-coaster of a ride and one that had its highs and lows. Some birds had made well below their true value and hopefully the fanciers who got bargains will realise that this was a genuine auction where the birds dictate the values.
Overall it was a success, with a £285 average, it was only later that we were to learn of a few problems.
One of the most annoying, was that many fanciers could not get their bids on at the end and also the pages were not refreshing to let them know the current bid. This explained why so many of the principle birds did not make their full potential figure. Our only consolation was that the Charity alone would miss out slightly, but with close to £3500 being raised it was not a disaster.
A couple of fanciers failed to read the terms and conditions correctly and where 2 bids were identical the fancier who makes the first bid, is the winning bidder. Therefore, although your name may appear as the final bidder in the bid history, you need to look to see if it was not matched by an earlier bid.
In the weeks following the auction we spent time with our website developers and ironed out these problems. Hopefully these problems will not happen again and the introduction of the max bid facility should simplify the bidding arrangements.

The week following the auction saw myself and John deliver all the birds and it was good to meet both old and new customers. We wish everyone success with the birds and extend our thanks to all those who supported this worthy cause. A particular thanks goes to Paul Smith who, as ever, handled the phone bidding in a professional manner and received some excellent feedback  from all who dealt with him.

Further details of the donations, balance sheet and letters can be found within this section.