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Their last sale of antiques, books and collectables was conducted on June 30 with a final general sale held six weeks ago on August 14.

Loves, founded in 1869, are well-known name on the auction scene in Scotland and were a longstanding member of SOFAA before their membership ceased in January.

Last week, as vendors contacted their local newspaper to say they had not received payment, a note was pinned to the doors of their Arran House saleroom stating that the company had ‘downsized’. The mobile phone number for proprietor Tom Reid was included but calls by ATG to both Mr Reid and the saleroom office on Arran Street were unanswered.

A number of civil actions have been raised against Loves at the town’s sheriff court by clients seeking compensation for outstanding money and lost items. Perth and Kinross Council’s Trading Standards told ATG they have received a “significant number”of complaints on the issue.

They believe Loves has now ceased trading and are conducting a full investigation.

The case highlights the problems that can arise when an auctioneer conducts business without a client account to keep buyers’ and sellers’ money separate from general business accounts.

This situation arose at West Midlands firm Walker Barnett & Hill after proprietor Chris Sidebotham absconded in September 2008.