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That standard is "a uniformity of approach to the valuing and auctioning of personal property" and NAVA are the only professional body offering practical training in chattels, say the association.

Nicholas Somers, a former chairman of the Arts and Antiques Faculty of the RICS, who now specialises in forensic appraisals for the courts in civil proceedings as an independent expert witness, will take the course, which will be held at Leamington Spa on April 17.

He is responsible for putting together the valuation half of the programme for NAVA's first ever training course for practitioners involved in chattels, which is designed to appeal to both new entrants and experienced auctioneers.

"Until now, no formal training has been available for those dealing in chattels. Now, NAVA has stepped in to remedy the situation," said the association.

"Since this is the very first training course of its kind, and the ultimate aim is to extend it to cover all disciplines within NAVA (other than property, which is already well-served with training), the association is keen to encourage feedback from the membership."

The new course will be delivered in two halves. The morning will focus on the auctioneering side, covering object identification in the saleroom, obtaining correct instructions, cataloguing techniques and research, condition reports, and saleroom marketing delivered by independent valuer Clive Welsh, Philip Allwood of Moore, Allen & Innocent in Cirencester, and Simon Berti, Sales Director of ATG.

The afternoon session starts with a presentation by Dr Robin Thornes on Object ID for valuers - the international standard for describing art, antiques and antiquities, originally devised by the J. Paul Getty Trust.

The bulk of the session will be delivered by Simon Green, a chartered surveyor and senior valuer with Christie's, South Kensington. It will deal with undertaking valuations - the importance of research, how you construct a valuation, how you go round a house, and how you present the valuation to the client - as well as specific issues such as the importance of PI Insurance. The day will conclude with an overview and Q&A session.

"The course is open to anyone undertaking valuation work - both new entrants and current practitioners," says Mr Somers.

"It's never too late to learn something new. After all, the profession has changed. Valuers used to detail everything down to the last toothbrush, but now insurance companies are only interested in the higher value items. Everything else is simply aggregated."

This practice delivers valuations at a lower cost, he adds, but it doesn't alter the fact that valuers are in a very privileged position.

If there is sufficient demand, Mr Somers also intends to develop a programme of "master class days" on specific subjects such as ceramics, silver and so forth.

The cost of the full day course is £120 + VAT for members of NAVA/ARLA/ICBA/NAEA and a special non-member price of £150 + VAT if you quote ATG on your booking form.

Further details and booking forms can be found on the NAVA website www.nava.org.uk/training-courses/ or by calling the courses team on 01926 417787.