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Sotheby’s outgoing head of Asian art in Europe, Alastair Gibson, modelling the suit of Qing ceremonial armour that sold for £39,000 at his final sale on November 7.

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But the keen-eyed might have noticed something else - that the final lot, a suit of Qing ceremonial armour, shown here, was modelled by Sotheby's head of Asian art in Europe, Alastair Gibson, and that the auction's sale code name was 'Lastie'.

Both were light-hearted references to the fact that Mr Gibson was leaving and that this would be his final sale for Sotheby's.

Alastair announced his departure from the rostrum and introduced his successor, Robert Bradlow, who comes from Sotheby's Australia and will head up the Chinese department in London.

Mr Gibson's career change, as a dealer specialising in Chinese ceramics and works of art, starts in the New Year. He will be dealing by appointment and can be contacted on 07831 645 468 or by email alastair@gibsonantiques.com