Grand Auction - The Big Dog Art Trail

Grand Auction

19.09.23 – 19.09.23

Adopt a Swindog!

Come along to the Grand Auction where you’ll have another chance to see the Swindogs in all their glory and bid for your favourite sculpture at this thrilling evening at STEAM Museum on 19th September.

You can register to bid at the event, and the auction is now live online for those wanting to take part from further afield.

We’re delighted to announce that a selection of our sculptures will also be available at a special Buy It Now price from 4 to 11 September. Find out more in our QAs below.

By adopting a Swindog, you’ll not only have a unique piece of artwork to treasure, you’ll also be raising vital funds for the local children’s hospice charity, Julia’s House.

Book auction tickets now

Our online auction site is now live! Please click below to browse sculptures and register to bid online.

Register for online bidding

If you would like to bid on a sculpture in person, please complete the Bidder Registration Form and send to

Download Bidder Registration Form

Please click the button below to browse the Auction Catalogue

Auction Catalogue

Please also make sure you read our Auction Buyers Guide and Terms and Conditions below.

Auction Buyers Guide and Terms and Conditions

Grand Auction

19 September 2023

6.30pm – 9pm

STEAM Museum, Swindon

Auction FAQs

When and where is the auction?

The Grand Auction will take place at STEAM Museum in Swindon on Tuesday 19th September. The auction starts at 6.30pm, with live bidding from 7.30pm. Tickets cost £10 per person.

Book tickets via the link above and at the Julia’s House website

What size are the Balloon Dogs?

We have 28 Swindog sculptures that are 1.54m tall, 0.68m wide, 1.75m long, weighing around 45kg.

Two of our Swindogs – Papillion and Tails of Swindon – are slightly bigger at 2.17m tall, 0.85m wide, 1.92m long, weighing 50kg.

We also have four Swinpups in the auction, which are 0.79m tall, 0.35m wide, 0.9m long, weighing 10kg.

What are the Balloon Dogs made from?

The Balloon Dogs are made from a mixture of class II fire retardant laminating resin and chopped roving fibreglass over an initial brushed–on layer of gel coat.

Is every sculpture unique?

Yes, each sculpture is completely unique and has been created by a professional artist.

Where can I view the Auction Catalogue?

The Auction Catalogue will be available to download (pdf) via the online auction from 5 September at

Can I preview the lots in person?

You can preview the auction lots at the Big Dog Art Trail Farewell Weekend on the 16th and 17th September at STEAM Museum, Swindon. Alternatively, if you are interested in bidding at auction and would like to preview lots, please contact

Who is the auctioneer?

The auctioneer is Charles Hanson of HANSONS AUCTIONEERS and BIDPATH LTD.

Who can attend?

All interested bidders aged 18+ are welcome to our auction. We hope to fill the auction room with people who are going to bid so that we can raise as much money as we can for Julia’s House Children’s Hospice.

For families, or for people who are not able to bid but are interested in seeing the Balloon Dogs all together, we advise that our Farewell Weekend is more suitable.


How do I bid for a Balloon Dog?

If you wish to bid on a balloon dog sculpture, you will need to complete a Bidder Registration Form in advance and provide proof of identity. This will be sent to you if you have bought an event ticket and/or registered your interest to bid.

Please return your Bidder Registration Form to or bring it with you on the night along with your ID. This will make the process easier on the night and you will be allocated a paddle.

If you don’t plan to make a bid but change your mind on the night, that’s okay too! Please refer to our Guide for Bidders and Terms and Conditions for more information.

If I am bidding on the night, what ID do I need to bring with me?

You must bring one form of ID which must include government-issued photo identification. If this does not state your current address, proof of address will also be required.

If you are bidding on behalf of an organisation, you must provide a copy of the certificate of incorporation, or, in the case of unregistered entities, other evidence satisfactory to Please contact us at for confirmation of what will be acceptable.

I can’t get to the auction, can I still bid?

Yes, we’ll be running the auction live online. You can bid online or place an absentee bid.

How do I bid online?

Before the auction you will need to create an online bidding account with Wild in Art and register for the Big Dog Auction. Visit our auction website at

You can have a look through the auction lots and choose the Balloon Dog that you would like to bid on.

Participating in the auction on 19th September is easy. Make sure you are registered and approved to bid in advance so that you are ready to go.

If you would like to place an online bid in advance, just enter the maximum amount you would be happy to pay for the lot. Your bid will be automatically executed for you as other bidders bid against you. You will be notified by email if your bid is outbid. If you want to increase your bid just enter your new bid and click the bid button.

Bids placed online in advance of the auction will then be executed on the night as part of the live auction so don’t forget to log in and watch the action on the night. If you are outbid by a bidder in the room, you will be able to increase you online bid as part of the live bidding on the night.

Can I buy a sculpture outright?

Yes, we have a selection of sculptures that will be available to purchase online at a special Buy It Now price, from 12.00 on 4th September until 23.59 on 11th September. You can browse these sculptures at our auction website:

If bought, these items will not be available at auction.

Any sculptures not sold at the Buy It Now price will go forward to the auction on 19th September.

The sculptures which will have a special Buy It Now price are:

  • Papillon
  • Patches – Julia’s Hound
  • Penny for your Thoughts
  • Pill Bull Terrier
  • Puppy Love
  • Running with the Dogs
  • Verbal Camouflage (Splosh)
  • Writing on the Wall, 2023
  • Cosmo the Space Dog
  • Verbal Camouflage (Wheee!)

What is an Absentee Bid?

If you can’t attend the auction, you can still take part in the bidding by completing the Bidder Registration and Absentee Bid form available by emailing Please ensure this is returned to us at least 24 hours prior to the start of the auction.

You will need to pre-select which lots you would like to bid for and the amount you would like to bid. You will also be required to provide a copy of your passport/ driving license and proof of address. A member of the auction team will be authorised to bid on your behalf to your specified limit. If you are successful with your bid, you will be contacted after your chosen lot has closed to confirm your preferred payment method. Written bids will be executed at the lowest possible price.

Will you accept telephone bids?

We can facilitate telephone bids. Please complete the Bidder Registration and Absentee Bid form available by emailing Please ensure this is returned to us at least 24 hours prior to the start of the auction.

During the live auction online…

Make sure you are logged in and ready to go before the auction starts.

When the auction starts you will be able to see a live stream of the auctioneer selling the lots as well as seeing a real-time feed of the current bid. When your lot comes up online, get ready to click the bid button! Auctions are fast paced, so make sure you don’t miss out.

Will I pay VAT or commission on top of the hammer price?

No commission is added to the hammer price.

Is my successful bid gift aid-able?

No, it is not gift aid-able.

How much will the Balloon Dog be sold for?

There is no way of knowing how much each sculpture will achieve. However, bidding for most sculptures will start at £1,000 and if you are saving up for a Balloon Dog, based on previous similar trails, we expect (and hope) them to sell for at least £3,000 and upwards.


If I’m successful, how can I pay for my Balloon Dog?

Julia’s House will contact each successful bidder and discuss their payment options. We do accept card payments made over the phone or paid in person at the payment desk. Julia’s House will raise invoices for each successful bid and these will be sent to the successful Bidders by hand/email. The invoice will show the Hammer Price to be to be paid, and identify the Lot purchased. Payments will need to be paid within 24 hours.

We will have the facility to take payment on the night using all major debit and credit cards.

If I’m successful, how will I get my Balloon Dog home?

All Balloon Dogs must be collected or delivery can be arranged by M4 Storage and Haulage. Please ask for a quote for delivery cost.

If you would like to collect your Balloon Dog, you can do so from Wednesday 20th September until 22nd September – please email us at to book a time slot. Other dates are available on application.

You can arrange delivery via our shipping partner M4 Storage and Haulage. The team will be available on the night to confirm delivery costs and take bookings.

Can I buy a plinth for my Balloon Dog?

A small selection concrete and wooden plinths are available, please contact for further details.

Will my Balloon Dog be insured?

All lots are covered by Julia’s House Children’s Hospice insurance until you have signed a collection notice. Once this has been signed our insurance will cease and you will become the owner of the Balloon Dog and therefore responsible for any insurance cover.

Which charity will benefit from the auction proceeds?

Proceeds from the Big Dog Art Trail auction will go to Julia’s House Children’s Hospice.


Can I buy a blank Balloon Dog sculpture?

Blank Balloon Dog sculptures, both large and small, are not currently available to buy. This is to protect the value of the Balloon Dog sculptures that will be auctioned to help raise funds for Julia’s House Children’s Hospice.

Are any Balloon Dogs not included in the auction?

All large Swindogs and four Swinpups, created by artists, are included in the auction.

The 38 remaining Swinpups created by young people and community groups will not be auctioned and will be returned to the schools and groups that created them, as a legacy of the summer that the Big Dog Art Trail took over Swindon.

Sculptures Artists App Charity