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The Antiques Trade Gazette wanted to know whether or not the May 6 sale would go ahead as planned, or be moved to London in June, but there was no response to these inquiries from Phillips.

Instead, there have been conflicting reports elsewhere – ranging from one saying that Phillips is to “postpone” the sale, to another that says the auction house is undecided. In a recent interview, however, Phillips chairman Simon de Pury said he would “quite definitely” hold a Spring sale.

However, efforts to secure consignments have been undermined by the fact that it has taken Phillips more than a month to appoint a new head of Impressionist and Modern Art. As reported in the appointments column on page two, Michel Strauss is joining the company from Sotheby’s next week.

A switch of the sales to London would certainly be easier for the UK trade, but it is unlikely that renovations on Phillips premises in Grosvenor Street would be ready for a June sale.