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There has been talk of this fair for some months and Mr Lester has already approached many potential exhibitors, but it was officially announced to a press gathering at his flagship fair at Palm Beach, Florida on February 2.

Mr Lester is responding to the European trade’s desire to do business in New York and he plans a fair of around 160 exhibitors, 25 per cent American and 75 per cent European.

The fair has a working title of The New International Art and Antique Exposition but a new name is to be announced.

Stock will be middle range and affordable although strictly vetted by museum people and non-exhibiting dealers. Partly modelled on the June Olympia, Mr Lester emphasises the variety on offer, “from antiquities to avant-garde”, he says.

Located at 11th Avenue between 34th and 38th Street, a year ago Mr Lester deemed the site unsuitable for a prestige fair. But he has changed his mind and with the backing of DMG, who bought his company for $18m last year, says he can mount a class show. “The Javits is the only place for a fair this size – it will be four times as big as the Armory fair,” he told the Antiques Trade Gazette.

Mr Lester is working on moves to drastically cut shipping costs for European dealers at the New York fair, for which he has put aside a marketing budget of $1m. Some 40 dealers have already signed up and last week Mr Lester said he might have the option of opening the fair on September 9. An obvious potential pitfall is that the fair coincides with the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks but the organiser maintains life will go on and cites the fair’s coinciding with New York’s Fashion Week as a positive factor.