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Since their inaugural showing in 2000, the awards had successfully championed the work of many involved in the world of antiques and collectables and were praised for the well-deserved recognition they have given to the trade.

However, host company Miller’s made no secret that the awards needed to be commercially viable and – in addition to the £100-a-plate plus wine gala dinner – “required significant subsidy from industry sponsors to balance the expenditure”.

For the last two years this has not been forthcoming and 2004’s awards were something of a damp squib, announced not in the surrounds of a London hotel but on the Internet.