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The move follows auctioneer Chris Ewbank’s recent refurbishment and expansion of his Send Marsh rooms. A number of provincial rooms are experimenting with the system at the moment to see how effective it is and whether the benefits outweigh the extra workload.

“We have posted our sale catalogues on our internet website for several years now and that has produced inquiries and bidders from America and beyond,” Mr Ewbank explained. “In the past, however, they have needed either to leave commission bids which we have executed on their behalf or else we have had to phone them as the sale proceeds.”

He said that although it had meant a lot of extra work the results were “fantastic”.

“The sale catalogue went live on July 1 and by the eve of the sale, it had recorded more than 18,000 hits from people logging on and viewing it on their computers.”