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While many UK auction houses are giving more bureaucratic responsibility to senior experts – at least partially in an effort to cut costs – Mr Sumner plans to bring in administration managers for each department to free up senior specialists.

Mr Sumner quit his Olympia post earlier in the year to return to Australia where he had spent 16 years, culminating in heading up Sotheby’s Australasian operation, prior to his UK appointment.

As chief executive of Lawson-Menzies, he inherits the benefits of the company’s recent take-over of Australia’s oldest auction house, Lawson’s of Sydney, which was established in the 1870s.
Giving him an established Sydney base, covering sales of Australian wine, Australian art, decorative arts and jewellery, he now plans to introduce a three-tier sales structure, dividing the business into two brands. The Lawson’s brand will be used to sell domestic and industrial goods, but under the Lawson-Menzies brand, there will be a new calendar for 2003 of fine Australian art as well as themed auctions, where catalogues will be 100 per cent illustrated.

Monthly catalogue sales will continue, including mid-price items from every discipline. A new sales category has been created to handle Australian history and covers a range of areas including racing and sporting, books, colonial and contemporary furniture and artefacts, jewellery, film and fashion. Further details are available on their Website at www.lawsonmenzies.com.au