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Christie’s-owned Spink have been looking for a buyer for their collectables and special commissions business since mid-June. Marketing manager Laura FitzGerald said: “There has been a great deal of interest but negotiations are still in progress,” although she expected a deal to be in place “by December [2001].”

One man who will not be involved in the forthcoming developments is Peter Scott, a former Associate Director of Special Commissions and the most recent high profile specialist departure. According to Laura FitzGerald, “he left of his own accord” on November 9.

Although Spink hope to have a deal in place by December for their collectables (stamps, coins, banknotes and medals) and special commissions business (to be sold with the Spink name), negotiations are still under way with Simon Ray, director of the Indian and Islamic department, and Lowell Libson, director of Spink Leger gallery, for a management buy-out of their respective areas. No agreement has yet been reached and Spink could give no time-frame for a completion date.

Until Spink Leger is sold, James Holland-Hibbert will continue to trade in Modern British pictures under his own name at the Bond Street gallery. Formerly a dealer for Spink Leger in Modern British pictures, he was the first to trade independently since the summer announcement. He completed a deal to buy the 70-work stock on September 12. In the longer term he plans to set up premises in the West End.

Meanwhile, Peter Holmes and his seven-person team will continue to conserve and restore top-end English furniture from their Kennington-based premises under the name Arlington Conservation (Tel: 020 7735 2224). With so many over-restored pieces, Peter Holmes said: “People come to us for as much as what we won’t do as what we will.”