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In just over two years the Chicago area will have lost its two largest salerooms, both following purchases by corporate auction houses. Dunnings, which merged with Butterfields in 1998, closed the following year to be replaced by a consignment office.

When Sotheby’s bought Leslie Hindman it was the region’s biggest auction house with a turnover of $10-15 million per year. Helyn Goldenberg, chairman of Sotheby’s Midwest, said: “There are many factors involved, some that you will have read about in the newspapers, but perhaps the biggest impact is the demands of the 21st century on the business. The Internet has changed the landscape. We did not have sothebys.com when we bought Hindman’s.”