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It seems the decision follows a poor turnover for 1999 (£342,670 – 2.5 per cent of the London market share). Department head Daniel Fearon, who has more than 35 years’ experience and who created the department seven years ago, will remain as consultant. James Rowntree, who joined the department earlier this year after completing his Classics degree, will remain to clear up the July sale and then transfer elsewhere in Bonhams.

Observers have noted that this closure could partly have been caused by the department being out of context in Lots Road instead of with the rest of Bonhams in Knightsbridge.

It also follows the trend in London’s numismatic scene, which is coalescing into larger units – Italo Vecchi was absorbed into the United States-based CNG group late last year. The move by Spink to their new Holborn premises also changes the numismatic centre of gravity in the capital.