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Last week icollector revealed that they were quitting London to run their operation out of British Columbia. Now sothebys.com have announced that they are to service their entire world network from New York and will close down their UK operation in the next few weeks.

Sotheby’s decision, based largely on cost, is expected to be fairly seamless as far as the Website’s European and Australasian associate dealers are concerned. The transition should be complete by mid February, according to John Baddeley, who is in charge of the London operation and will oversee the handover.

“The take-up for associates to put items for sale on the site has been much stronger in the US than elsewhere,” he explained, “and so it makes sense to concentrate our expertise in the one place. We are still very much committed to our other markets.”

As transactions take place online, associate dealers should not notice much difference, he added, other than that they will be dealing with new contacts out of New York rather than those who have been providing support for them from London until now. “Where a German dealer has been used to dealing with someone who speaks German in London, now they will have someone who can speak German in New York,” explained Mr Baddeley.

The news of iCollector’s move to Canada comes in the wake of improvements in the performance of online sales at US auction houses involved with their live bidding process, while the UK business has not progressed as hoped. The company, who specialise in providing online catalogue services, absentee bidding and live auctions online, have stressed that they will continue to provide a service for the ten UK auction houses they have signed up and are even promising them that this will be enhanced in the new year.