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Mr Vost, who told the Antiques Trade Gazette he had no definite plans for the future, said: “I am saddened by this state of affairs, but there has been an increasing tension at board level as well as with investors in the company and the outcome was inevitable.”
James Guyer, now the spokesman for the board and investors, contradicted Mr Vost’s statement and said that the resignation had been “a bolt from the blue”.

“It’s a mystery to us why he has done this, there has been no major boardroom disagreement at all.”

More importantly, Mr Guyer announced that the board and major investors had decided that the company should close as it would prove difficult to continue trading, though the business remained financially sound. Mr Vost remains a major shareholder and several of the firm’s contractual agreements, such as the lease on the building, are in his name.

Apologising for the inconvenience to vendors and long-term clients, Mr Guyer told the Gazette that Vost’s had been in contact with Cheffins in Cambridge who had agreed to take over responsibility for the January sale. Those vendors who did not want to withdraw their consignments will be able to offer them for auction at Cheffins under the same terms they had agreed with Vost’s.
There seems little likelihood of a reconciliation, with Mr Guyer describing Mr Vost’s treatment of staff and clients through walking out as “shabby”. He also warned that any attempt by Mr Vost to set up a rival auction house would have “legal implications”.
Vost’s expect to wind up the business by Christmas. “Ultimately, we have responsibilities to our vendors, many of whom have been loyal to us for a number of years, and they must be our priority,” said Mr Guyer.