It’s the night before the monthly auction and Mike Dark, owner of Bridport Auction House is simultaneously excited and nervous, anticipating what tomorrow will bring. 25 years after buying Bridport Auction House, Mike still gets a buzz from what he does. The thrill continues during the auction as the items he has exhibited and displayed all month are sold to the highest bidders.
Describing himself as ‘poacher turned gamekeeper’, Mike found that found one day’s trade selling antiques from a market stall in Brighton made better money than the art therapist teaching job he had during the week. The stall then materialised into a shop, then two, as Mike delved further into the antiques world and became more successful. He then bought a weekend cottage in Portesham, not so far from Bridport, where he grew up. The Dorset countryside and way of life infiltrated and beckoned Mike once more. Two years after buying the cottage, Brighton had to go. Finding life in Dorset generally more friendly, Mike appreciates passers-by in Bridport responding to him when he greets them in the street. For the walker in him, the added bonus of the countryside scenery with its mix of flat land, smooth rolling hills, rocky outcrops, cliffs and sea has ensured he has stayed put; that, and the constant challenge of running a busy auction house.
Although firmly on the auction side of the podium, Mike does still pick up some items which he can’t bear to lose out on. A lover of books, he describes his home in Bridport to be more like a library than a cottage. With his girlfriend, Mo, Mike is often out in Bridport, enjoying the social scene and local hostelries. However, as a massive rugby fan, during the Six Nations, he is likely to only be found in pubs showing the games. Nothing gets in the way of rugby. A teller of tales, with a life full of amusing stories, it’s never a dull chat when sitting on a neighbouring bar stool to Mike.