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Taking as his starting point a recent discussion of the topic in the Antiques Trade Gazette’s The Month in Question (No 1561, October 26), Martin Spencer-Thomas asked how auctioneers should value stock-in-trade items such as warming pans and George III mahogany bureaux, demand for which has plummeted.

“Do we keep valuations up, in the expectation that the market will return, or do we go down with the current depressed state of the market?” he asked members at the meeting on November 21. The consensus favoured responding to the prevailing market, however depressed it may be. “The current taste is for an open-plan, stainless-steel aesthetic,” commented John Kirkland of Hamptons International, “and it could be five years before we get back to the chintzy look.”

There was a paucity of constructive ideas as to how face up to the “Ikea Challenge”, with Philip Allwood of Moore Allen and Innocent warning: “It is not for us to influence the market; it is for us to react to it.” However, he did recommend responding more creatively to the growth of interest in modern designers such as Arne Jacobsen and Eero Saarinen, names which drew snorts of incomprehension from the more traditional members in the room.

The AGM also saw the appointment of officials for the coming year.
Steven Denley-Hill was appointed chief executive of the association, a new post intended to achieve two objectives: to increase membership which currently stands at 150, and to raise NAVA’s profile within the industry. Robert Stones of Peter Wilson in Nantwich takes over as chairman, while Robert Beaumont remains secretary and Lord Astor of Hever continues as president. The association’s head office has moved to 73 Pontcannon Street, Cardiff, CF11 9HS.