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A company spokesman told the Antiques Trade Gazette that while people liked the site and what it offered, there was not sufficient appeal for using the service online yet. This is despite Mr Scully being the most recognisable face in British antiques thanks to his role as presenter on The Antiques Roadshow, and the public’s apparently insatiable appetite for watching antiques being valued.

“We are talking to the experts and seeing how and if we can take this further,” she said, but was confident that the online valuations service would be revived, adding that Mr Scully’s featured auctions would continue after the review.

The difficulty for the online valuations service has always been that it relied on customers scanning in photographs of the objects they wished to have valued before submitting them via the Internet. When the service launched, just under two years ago, with a headline grabbing deal for Mr Scully, reportedly worth £3m over five years, QXL were thought to be negotiating an arrangement with a high street chain for customers to gain access to a cheap scanning service, but no agreement ever emerged.

QXL, as with many other dotcoms, have seen their share price plummet over that time and one company source told the Gazette that they had decided to concentrate their efforts on their core software products.