Thursday, January 07, 2016

Ch ch ch ch changes.....

It appears that RCA Secret is changing in 2016.  The RCA secret website has been updated so firstly, and perhaps most importantly, the sale in London will apparently take place in April.  We hear, although this is not confirmed yet, that the exhibition will be between 7 and 15 April with presumably the sale on the following day?   The sale in Dubai is still in March (16th to 19th to be precise) so this opens up all sorts of possibilities for collectors.  Will anyone be tempted to fly to Dubai to buy cards there, then return to London for a second set?  It wouldn’t surprise me if some committed collectors do just that.  No mention of the potential Hong Kong sale.   
Secondly there is a bald statement on the website that RCA secret is “changing” with “more chances for collectors to snap up the cards they love”.  What do we think this might mean?  One change which appears to be taking place is that it appears that RCA secret is back in the Gulbenkian Galleries in Kensington, rather than it’s recent home in Battersea.  But that isn’t a change that gives collectors more chances to snap up the cards they want….
Well this blog wouldn’t be this blog without indulging in some mindless speculation.  I can assure you that none of this comes with any inside knowledge at all.  Here are some possibilities we have thought of:
1)      The sale is extended.  I’ve been saying for some time that given the number of cards in the sale and the fact that the number of purchasers has reduced over the last couple of years it would sensible for the college to increase the number of days that the cards are on sale, perhaps combining this with (2) below.  This would give those who can’t attend on the sale day (or  either can’t or don’t have the inclination to queue) to pitch up on day 2 and buy without all the hassle.
2)      After, say, 12noon on sale day, collectors are allowed to purchase any more cards they want – I totally agree that the limit of four cards gives everyone the chance of buying what they like but once the queues have died down it makes sense to relax those limits and allow collectors to buy more cards if they want.  Everyone is a winner from this and I can’t see any downside.
3)      Sales of cards is split.  Day 1 of the sale is for cards numbered 1 to 1500 and day 2 for cards number 1501 to 3000.   Can’t see this working in practice and it would be a nightmare managing 2 queues.
4)      After the sale is finished unsold cards are sold online on a first come first served basis – again there would seem to be no downside to this provided the college can set up a suitable online purchasing solution and have the resources to manage sending the cards out to purchasers.  Collectors who are overseas get the chance to buy cards they wouldn’t ordinarily get and the college sells more of the artwork.  They could even put on sale unsold cards from previous years.
5)      Unsold cards from Dubai get imported into the London sale – this would seem to make sense give the difference in dates between the two.  Again very little downside.
6)      Some cards sold by auction method rather than flat price– I for one would be totally against such a proposition.  Whilst it may prove a money spinner for the college it flies in the face of everything the sale stands for.  Contributing artists I suspect wouldn’t like this either. 
7)      Places in the raffle are auctioned off – again I would be against this for all the reasons in (6) above.
8)      Raffle tickets are sold online – this is probably inevitable at some point however it would be essential to ensure that (9) below is followed as much as possible.
9)      The raffle is better policed – there have been numerous stories about people buying multiple sets of raffle tickets under one buyer number or even turning up and holding themselves out as a raffle winner when they are not the name of the registered buyer.  To stop this the college should ensure that only one set of raffle tickets can be bought against one buyer number – this shouldn’t be too hard to do in this computerised age.  In order to buy those tickets you should have to produce photographic ID that matches your buyer name.  They should also insist that raffle winners turn up with photographic ID.  If their ID doesn’t match the name of the registered buyer then they should be refused admission.  No exceptions. 
10)   Other changes to the raffle – bigger number of raffle winners, more chances to buy tickets, places offered to sponsors, on social media etc.  Apart from (9) above I think the raffle works well and should be kept.
So there you go a few thoughts that occurred.  Maybe you will have others or thoughts on the suggestions above?


Neil Cameron said...

They've now put up the plans but I am a touch confused. The sale is a sunday but you can't collect your postcards until the following saturday. It's a bit annoying as I would be travelling down from scotland and I'm assuming there's no option of getting the cards delivered. Also adding new postcards during the week seems an odd inclusion.

pezlow said...

Thanks for letting me know Neil. That is strange indeed. Gonna be tough for the people who have long trips to the sale to have to come back and collect their cards on another day. Perhaps the college could send them to people?

Anonymous said...

We travel down from Liverpool especially. I always take 2 days off work and line up on the day to get my picks. I can't move to London for a week just to wait for my cards!?

Post Lee said...

My comment posted on Facebook... its just my opinion though.

All looks very messy, according to the website the sale opens on Sunday 10th of April through to Friday 15th. They'll be adding new cards throughout the week, I assume this is to stopping one person from walking away with four Grayson Perry cards for example (good idea). However, it'll be hugely skewed to people who live in London and I can see this format open to abused by, for example, London galleries registering their staff and friends then going along everyday to plunder the cards. The college really is making an effort to destroy the camping. The camaraderie of the queue is one of the highlights of the sale for me, its fantastic and over the years I've made some lovely friends and had a great time waiting for the sale to open. I feel slightly sad and let down by the college, loyal supporters who have been attending the sale for years come rain or shine, travelling far and wide. Although it doesn't surprise me, its been abused for so long, particularly the raffle.

I'm guessing if they are going to send out cards for people unable to collect, it'll be at the buyers expense. But does the college really have the resources and time to spend sending out 3,000+ cards recorded deliver?

Gerard Darby said...

hmmm. it could be pretty chaotic and when will they be adding the cards? - if first thing in the morning it means that there will potentially be queues and scrambles every day. Some of us also aren't there for the 'names' but instead to get postcards they love and to support the student fund and RCA don't seem to realise this. There is hardly any mention of what the funding from the sale goes to on the new website. There were certainly things that needed to change such as the raffle which could have been managed better simply by using people's registration numbers to prevent some of the obvious cheating that was going on with individuals buying multiple sets of tickets (shame on them). What a pity the RCA didn't bother to consult or talk to some of the loyal Secreters to ascertain what their ideas might be. After all we all want the same thing - a successful, enjoyable and fair sale. There is an arrogance about the RCA and how they organise this that is disappointing. However, I do hope it all can be made to work.

Lisa said...

The good:
- Sale on a Sunday so I don't have to take a day off work to sit on a pavement
- Back in Kensington which, selfishly, is easier for me to get to when lugging a tent etc.
- Marginally warmer in April?

The bad:
- Drip-feeding of cards. I have a full-time job and refuse to get up at stupid o'clock every day before work over the course of a week to hopefully get cards I want (assuming that they would even open at a time allowing me to get to work on time).

It all sounds like it hasn't been properly thought out. I'll wait for more information but I'm very sceptical.

pezlow said...

Thanks for all your comments. Change is unsettling for everyone. As Lisa says there are good bits and bad bits. Would be nice if the college maybe talked to the fans to see what they wanted but I do think they take on board everyone's comments on this blog and the facebook page as well. For example I think they added the thing about posting cards to people after feedback.

I agree it is a bit odd drip feeding the cards and not knowing whether you should buy on the Sunday or wait until later. Chances are you will fall in love with a card you see on the Friday or Saturday and end up queueing for when the sale opens. I know that's what I'm likely to do!