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"Increasing sales from internet buyers illustrates that the internet auction platform finds more and more favour with remote buyers who never even come to the saleroom and make decisions to buy based entirely on images and condition reports," he said.

Certainly this is borne out by statistics published this week by www.the-saleroom.com.

The ATG's sister company sold £20m worth of art and antiques via online bidding in 2010 – an increase of 132% on 2009. The site hosted 1208 live auctions in 2010, an increase of 68% on the previous year and attracted 27% more bidders.