What are the ‘Charitable Objects’ of the Auctions for Christian Mission Trust?

The Trust (established in 1969) is committed to raising money for Christian causes in the UK and overseas. The formal words in our Trust Deed state that “the charity was established for the advancement of Christianity and the Christian gospel at home and abroad”.  In practical terms this means we support individual Christian missionaries, missionary societies, organisations (usually charities) that are themselves based on Christian principles.  The Trust is interdenominational and supports Christian based humanitarian and missionary work throughout the world.

Who chooses where the proceeds of sales are to be sent?

We listen to your recommendation!  However, under charity law it is the responsibility of the Trustees to decide where monies raised are to be sent.  In the vast majority of cases the Trustees are pleased to follow the wishes of the donors of items that have been given for sale.  The only criterion is that the proceeds must go to a cause that is covered by our ‘Charitable Objects’ (see above).

When is the money sent on to the Christian cause that is to benefit?

Just as soon as possible after receipt of proceeds from the sale(s).  If Gift Aid is to be recovered and the donor has decided they want this sum to benefit the Charity as well, then this is likely to be at a later stage after we have made the claim and the Gift Aid element has been received from HMRC.

Who are the Trustees?

The Trustees of AfCM are a group of Christian folk from a variety of walks of life and different denominations who give their services free of charge.  A list of current Trustees can be found on the Charity Commission website.

Who are the beneficiaries?

A selection of organisations that have benefitted from AfCM in the past is to be found through this link.  We are happy to advise on the eligibility of any suggested beneficiaries that may be nominated by potential donors.  Funds are sent to Christian outreach organisations all over the world and in the UK, sometimes to be used by or on behalf of nominated individuals in Christian work.

How is the work of AfCM financed?

There are two sources of income to cover the expenses of the Charity.  The first is the income and capital from a generous endowment that was made to the Charity some years ago.  The second is that we invite donors to agree that any Gift Aid recovered is allocated, in part or in whole, to cover outgoings. Our outgoings are kept to a minimum and the day-to-day operations are run mainly by volunteers.

Are AfCM accounts available to view?

A summary of AfCM financial activity is available on the Charity Commission website.

Please note that in recent years, our annual income has fallen below the threshold for which accounts need to be lodged with the Charity Commission, so there are no full accounts for review for the past few years.

How will the Auction House/Saleroom know when items are to be sold through AfCM and how will this be progressed?

Please use this link to go to the page about ‘How we work’.

Is there any relationship between AfCM (previously known as Northwood Missionary Auctions) and Wallington Missionary Auctions (“WMA”)?

Wallington Missionary Auctions provided us with the model on which we based our work when we started our own sales over 50 years ago; sadly, it no longer operates. AfCM (first known in 1969 as Northwood Missionary Mart) was independent of WMA but was closely associated with WMA and followed the same principles of raising money for Christian causes.

Will AfCM handle the sale of houses or other property by Auction?

In principle, yes. However, the Trustees will need to know the exact circumstances behind the intended donation.  Such requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis after initial contact has been made with the Trustees.  Please write to us using the Contact Form elsewhere on this site or call our Help Line.

What happens to items donated to AfCM, but which do not sell, or fail to reach the reserve that you may put on the item?

Depending on the reserve (if any) on a sale lot, an auction salesroom may re-list items at a subsequent or more appropriate sale – providing a second or even third opportunity for a successful sale.  We ask potential donors to give us complete discretion on the disposal of such items if they fail to sell, but if the gift is rescinded by the donor after valuation then any costs for return of the items must be borne by the original donor. Where AfCM or the selected auction house handling the consignment decide that the items offered turn out to be of insufficient value for auction then we suggest they are given to a charity shop or similar outlet or, maybe, are put up for sale on one of the many online sale websites.  Occasionally, an alternative auction salesroom in our network might be a more suitable route.  Different auction houses have varying minimum eligible estimates for their saleroom lots.

How do you handle very valuable or specialist lots?

We aim to select the most appropriate auction saleroom that specialises in particularly valuable categories of items or that has suitable specialist sales. This may mean that there is sometimes a delay of some weeks or even months in getting the item to sale – but we believe that this is better than trying to sell an item in a non-suitable context where the lot would not realise its true value.

Are you able to split the proceeds between organisations?

Yes. Please use the form to indicate your wishes. We will do our best comply. For sums raised in excess of £1000 you can vary your indication of wishes that you made when submitting the items for sale after the sale so long as we hear from you before the distribution of proceeds has taken place.

Can I take part of the proceeds for my own benefit or for a non-Christian charity?

No. That is not allowed under our charitable objects.

Which denomination is AfCM connected to?

AfCM is interdenominational.  We have no formal links to any particular Christian denomination.  You will see from the list of the organisations and individuals we have supported in the past the wide variety of beneficiaries that have received proceeds from our sales.

Does the Disasters Emergency Committee come within your list of eligible beneficiaries?

No – but there is a big “but”!  Within the Disasters Emergency Committee there are fifteen leading aid charities that raise funds quickly and efficiently at times of crisis overseas.  Christian Aid, World Vision and TEAR Fund are just three examples out of that 15 that would meet our criteria for directing the proceeds of a sale.  Please contact us if you need advice.

There is no nearby Auction House listed in your network – can you still help?

If you let us know where you are located, we will endeavour to find a salesroom that meets our criteria for membership of our network – which, in essence, means a good reputation and low or 0% commission for AfCM – and we will advise you accordingly.

I have no transport - how do I get my items to the Salesroom?

If you do not have your own transport, we will advise you on the best arrangement for getting your objects to the Salesroom.  Some auction houses will arrange for collection if the value is sufficiently high. The cost will be set against the proceeds of the sale.

I tried to sell my items on eBay, and they did not sell – can you help?

If items fail to sell on eBay it can be for several reasons.   Some examples are that: the reserve you have placed on the item is too high; the condition of the item leaves much to be desired (e.g. incomplete sets; damage or cracks; the market is flooded with the sort of item you have listed, and so on).  If this is the case, it is unlikely we will find an auction house that will be able to do any better.  Most salesrooms have a minimum lot value estimate of anything between £50 and £500.  We may be able to advise if you are able to send us photos of any items you are trying to sell, and we will try to advise although we are NOT professional valuers and can take no responsibility for any opinion that may be given by us.

How does 'condition' affect the value of an item at auction?

Condition is critical when considering the expected proceeds of an item sold at auction.  Repairs, tiny chips, scratches, fading, tears, general wear and tear can all have a significant baring on eventual proceeds. But don’t let that put you off – make an enquiry of the auction house when you are considering submitting items for sale.  Incomplete sets can also impact on value.  A ‘pair’ of vases is likely to be more valuable that twice the value of a single vase, for example.  A set of china or silver cutlery that is complete may be many more times more valuable than a incomplete one – though rarer items will sometimes still have value even if not in a set.  There are no fixed rules – so take advice.

Why might my piece of jewellery (or other item) only fetch so little considering what I (or the original owner) paid for it?

Do bear in mind that auction prices are more like ‘wholesale’ prices and can bear little resemblance to retail prices.  For example, jewellery sold in auction may be, for example only, 50% or less than the retail (shop) price.    AfCM used to try to sell ‘limited edition’ collectible china that was original sold at high prices based on (allegedly) potential rarity value even though issued in their ,ooo’s.  Prices raised could be as little as 1/20th of cost price even though the item was in its original packing!  Stamps are also a challenge when it comes to matching expectations with reality.  Rarity, condition, presentation, age, origin, context and quantity on the market can all have a depressing (in both senses) impact on value.