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The partners in this regional detente – thought to be the first of its kind anywhere in the UK – are Thomas Mawer and Sons, Golding Young and DDM.

Over 3000 lots will be offered at their respective salerooms in Lincoln, Grantham and Brigg between May 14 and 18. “This venture means that trade buyers from outside the county can come and view all the sales in one trip,” said Clinton Slingsby of Thomas Mawer and Sons. “It is also a way of raising our profile with potential vendors in the county. We want to prove that there are plenty of reasons for selling in Lincolnshire rather than sending goods to London.”

Does this mean that the auctioneers are agreeing not to compete for vendors? “Lincolnshire is a large county, the second largest in the country, and we do not often encroach on each other’s patch,” said Mr Slingsby. If all goes well, the venture will be repeated, with the possibility of a joint roadshow later in the year.

The notion of sharing advertising and promotional costs is only one of the attractions for those involved. For the auctioneers and vendors, the idea of a joint initiative to bring in buyers from outside the region to help drive up interest – and prices – is likely to prove popular. But what about the trade?

Dealers in all parts of the country, but particularly the North and Scotland, have always had to face the sort of problems associated with the bulk of sales coming at one time, but Mr Slingsby says that he has spoken to several dealers about the venture and has received no adverse comment.

However, there was scepticism from some quarters. “It does seems strange that two of the auctioneers are holding sales on the same day (Golding Young and DDM on May 14) when this is supposed to be a team thing,” said Mr Baker, a dealer from Horncastle. “I don’t mind the number of sales, because we cover four or five a week anyway, but two on the same day is not good, and the fewer dealers that turn up the better.”

Robert Horner of DDM said that the sale clash with Golding Young had been unavoidable on this occasion but added that any future initiative would get around such problems.

Despite some members of the local trade not relishing the thought of bidding competition from outside the county, Mr Slingsby pointed out that dealers would benefit from buyers coming in from further afield and dropping in on their shops before or after the sales.