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The owners of Mayfair and Bros Ltd, who describe themselves as “specialists in the antiques trade and jewellery business” will be holding monthly sales of silver, watches and jewellery at 26 South Moulton Lane, Mayfair, near Gray’s Antiques Market. They promise lower commission rates than Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Bonhams.

The auctioneer for the first sale on October 21 is Robert Minis, who used to wield the gavel at the Amsterdam saleroom Hermes. He told the Antiques Trade Gazette why he thinks that Mayfair and Bros can establish themselves in a highly competitive middle-market. “I think that London lacks a certain type of auction where people can consign their goods at short notice and receive quick payment for them,” he said.

In common with Sotheby’s, but not Christie’s or Bonhams, buyers are expected to “pay immediately for their purchases”. However, Mayfair and Bros have taken the unusual step of promising that vendors will be paid “within five days” of the auction – assurances that are not given by the big three auction houses. Whether this policy deters the long established custom of piggy backing, where dealers attempt to sell on their auction purchases before having to pay for them, remains to be seen.

Mayfair and Bros have also undercut Sotheby’s and Christie’s with their buyer’s premium, which has been set at 18 per cent on the hammer price, although Bonhams have a lower rate of 17.5 per cent. However, the starting rate of vendor’s premium at Mayfair and Bros – eight per cent – is considerably lower than Bonhams, Christie’s and Sotheby’s.

Mr Minis expects the majority of goods at his sales to be privately sourced, although he will not necessarily turn away trade consignments. His firm are in the process of recruiting six valuers in specialist fields, including English paintings, and they have scheduled quarterly sales of Islamic and tribal art for next year.

None of London’s main auction houses had heard of the company when contacted by the Antqiues Trade Gazette, but silver specialist Peter Waldron of Sotheby’s said that the news was “intriguing – we will wait and see what happens”.