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For an annual fee of A$495 (£180) – refundable through reductions on buyer’s premium – members get an ongoing cut in the premium, paying only 7 1/2 per cent instead of the usual 10 per cent, free auction catalogues, a permanent buyer’s number and entry to an exclusive club lounge at the Sydney-based auction house.

The scheme is aimed at dealers and serious collectors, and members can even bid anonymously from the comfort of a private room, screened by one-way glass.

“We wanted to inject a certain level of sophistication, luxuriousness and privacy into attending auctions,” said James W. Byrnes, a director of the company.

The firm’s new saleroom opens in September.

For details, contact Cromwell’s on +61 2 9283 4900 or www.cromwells.com.au.