RTR Property Disposal Update 8 May 2014
08 July 2014
I am grateful for the comments submitted since the last update on Property
was sent out by the Regimental Colonel. The responses to that email and the
observations made on the disposal category when that went online have had a
direct bearing on the work of the Property Working Group over the last 6
months. In particular, a small number of items have been removed from our
disposal plans in recognition of their part in our Regiment's history.
Where we stand right now, at the end of April 2014, is that we have
appointed Ottewill Silver and Everitt Fine Art to take on the restoration
project. Both Ottewill and Everitt have taken possession of the first 2
tranches of property and we expect these items to be restored and back in
the Officers' Mess before the Summer. We will take decisions on the
committal of further tranches for restoration as and when we can generate
Our plan to dispose of those items not required by the Royal Tank Regiment
has matured through discussions with both of our restorers and Lawrence's
Auctioneers of Crewkerne. Those items categorised for disposal can still be
seen on the Association website. A wider viewing of these items will happen
on Saturday 28 June in the RAC Memorial Hall (outside the wire and opposite
Allenby Barracks main Guardroom) during the Tank Fest weekend in Bovington.
Subsequently, they will be placed in Lawrence's Autumn auction which is
planned for October 2014. The Lawrence website is www.lawrences.co.uk .
By way of reassurance I would like to remind you all that that entire
proceeds from the sale of property will be reinvested directly into the
restoration of those items that will be displayed in the Regiment. At this
stage, anticipated funds still fall short of the sum required to complete
the restoration project so we are hoping that the income generated from the
sale exceeds our expectations.
Finally, I would also like to give my thanks to all of you that commented
back through the Regimental Colonel; your comments have been extremely
valuable. I have taken note of all of the suggestions made on where we might
send property out on loan and we will turn to this issue once we have
completed the sale this Autumn.
Please see the nine links to the Regimental property disposal e-catalogues from both Regts, which are displayed on the RTR Association website (www.royaltankregiment.com). It is important to note, this information release does not "open the sales" but is a warning order for the sales that will not start before June. Also, this ‘foreword' is intended to be a live document given that direction is being developed day by day. Therefore, it will updated by Regtl email and on the RTR Association website as the position develops.
The whole disposal process has been considered carefully and sensitively by both Regiments in conjunction with the Property Working Group headed by Col Gavin Thompson on behalf of the Colonel Commandant RTR. Col Thompson laid out the criteria that have governed future Property work in his letter covered by my email of 25 Jan 14, which is repeated here for ease of reference:
"A number of principles have shaped our work. In no particular order these include: standard of presentation, antecedent regiment equity in display, controlled and legal release of items under the non-public funds regulations, regard for the restrictions on storage space in Tidworth and supporting requests for external loans. Utilising these principles we will preserve the collection in a form most fitting for past, present and future members of the Regiment.
Falling out of these principles, the Council gave direction to categorise the Property of each Mess into 4 groups: display, loan, dispose and store.
The display category is exclusively those items that will be displayed in the Tidworth messes. It therefore contains the most emblematic silver pieces and paintings as judged by the current Commanding Officers with oversight from the Property Working Group. It is also, therefore, the focus of attention for renovation, which plays a major part in the plan going forward. The view of the Council is that while our collection is unique, it is not up to the required standard of presentation. The original aim was to secure sufficient funds from the disposal of items to renovate the display items back to full presentation standard. This recognises the fact that, for a significant portion of the recent past, all 3 messes have prioritised the acquisition of new items over the maintenance of their existing collection but that the volume of property generated through the amalgamation makes it sensible to re-prioritise. While we are still confident that a significant proportion of the required funding can be recovered through the limited sale of some items, the exact amount is not certain. Therefore, to underwrite the intention to display items in Regimental Messes at full presentation standard, the Council has agreed to make up to £25,000 available over the next 3 years. We are currently in discussion with 2 restorers with a view to selecting one to undertake the 3 year restoration project.
Loan is the next category down in terms of emblematic value. Items in this category are still highly representative of the Regiment but for practical reasons of space, the Regiment will be unable to place them on display in Tidworth. Loan items will, therefore, be made available to military or civilian organisations or individuals whom we would wish to display items of RTR property. The Tank Museum, Army HQs and the Armour Centre have all requested loan items from the Regiment. When loaning items in the future we will be careful to ensure that this is done on the legal basis of a loan not a gift.
The dispose category is those items that are judged to have the lowest representative value to the Regiment and which it is unlikely would ever see the light of day if retained. This category may well be the most controversial and is the one which the Winter 13 Tank Magazine advertised to satisfy both legal diligence in disposal and to begin marketing the future sale. The November Council Meeting decided that in order to set a control limit, this category should constitute no more than 20% of the current collection by volume although the future CO would review this decision if the practical constraints of suitable storage space in Tidworth made this necessary. The Council also considered carefully how best to approach the disposal of these items. It was decided that those items designated for release would be placed on the Regimental website by RHQ RTR no later than 15 Feb 14. This will serve 2 purposes, first to ensure that any presenter wishing to reclaim their gift to the Regiment before it is sold may do so and second to advertise those items that will be sold at a future Regimental auction. The date of this auction is still to be decided but we are looking at options for an appropriate time and venue in late summer or autumn 14. The Council discounted the option of combining the auction with the amalgamation parade. The Council also agreed that a small amount of property would be released to carefully selected professional auctions in order to maximise the income potential. A specific example is a 2RTR painting called Eton College from the River which is a low priority for retention but is assessed could raise more than its intrinsic value at the right London auction. Clearly we will need to make it clear, through the Regimental website, when we intend to do this and with which items.
The final category, store, is all other property that at this time our judgement cannot place into any of the other 3 categories.
So, I hope this email serves to reassure that a great deal of work has been conducted with rigour across the 2 Regiments and informed decisions have been taken by the RTR Council. Clearly there is still more to do and when the next Property Working Group sits in February I intend to look more closely at which loan items we should offer and to whom, the down selection of a restorer to take on the restoration project, the development of our approach to the sale of items in 2014 as well as a future legal and management structure for the retained collection. In terms of communicating the ongoing work, the New Year dialogue has served as a useful reminder of the need for a drumbeat of updates to the non-serving members of the Regiment. I will also develop this note into something that can be placed into the next edition of Tank Magazine.
It should be noted that the current Regimental property collection is huge and includes many items from our antecedent Regiments. It should also be noted that physical storage space in the new-built Aliwal Barracks in Tidworth is very limited, hence the need for ‘Loan', ‘Dispose' and ‘Store' (at suitable locations yet to be identified) categories.
The aim in distributing the e-catalogues now is twofold: to begin the process of advertising items for future sale; and to enable those who may have presented an item in the past, for which the record may have been lost, to identify and reclaim their presentation through RHQ RTR (email@example.com) should they so wish.
The purpose of the sales will be to recoup funds to be spent on property refurbishment & maintenance for key items to be retained by the new Regt. Method of disposal is still TBC and the Property WG is taking advice from professional valuers/auctioneers to determine the best way of conducting future sales.
This will probably include (Note: the cost brackets indicated below are indicative only at this stage):
- An auction of a limited number of high value items (e.g. £2000+) by a carefully selected professional auction company at a date and location to be announced later. A normal catalogue of items will be produced in due course (Note: such items have not been included in these e-catalogues);
- An auction of significant value items (e.g. £200+) in the summer or autumn of probably no more than 250 lots at a location to be decided e.g. possibly at Tank Fest in Bovington on 28 Jun (date and location are still TBC). ;
- By an "e-sale auction" (not E-Bay) for mid-price items (e.g. £50 - £200) perhaps run by RHQ RTR or by a professional organisation;
- By disposal to a recommended local auction site of low value items (e.g. under £50) that have attracted no attention from the Regtl family and are basically considered to have little or no value.
- It may be that another system of "sealed postal bids" for items in the £50 - £200 bracket could be used, i.e. individuals bid for an item by sealed postal bid to RHQ RTR and the highest bidder on a date announced previously by RHQ RTR wins the item.
The sales will be open to anyone in the Regtl family i.e. serving or retired, irrespective of mess or rank. However, the aim of the sales is to attract the best possible sale values. Therefore, whilst the Regtl family will clearly have the first look i.e. by advertising them here on the Regtl website, the two main auctions will be open to the general public.
Finally, I would ask for your forebearance please in all property matters over the next few months. The disposal of Regimental property is rightly an emotive issue. In particular, there will be those who have presented items in the past and are now keen to know of their whereabouts. Every effort will be made to satisfy such questions, which should be addressed to the Regimental Secretary, Maj Colin Hepburn, at firstname.lastname@example.org. However, given the mists of time, full and complete answers might just not be possible.
Regtl Col RTR
Please click on the following links the catalogues will open on a new page:
1 RTR Officers Mess Property
1 RTR Officers Mess Silver
1 RTR Sgts Mess Property
1 RTR Sgts Mess Silver 1
1 RTR Sgts Mess Silver 2
1 RTR Sgts Mess Silver 3
2 RTR Property 1
2 RTR Property 2
2 RTR Property 3
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