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Olivier Stocker, CEO of Spink.

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Olivier Stocker, chairman and CEO since 2005, is relocating to HK to "further galvanise Spink's thriving Asia business", said the firm.

A spokeswoman added: "The move will expand and develop Spink China's already significant presence in Asia. Mr Stocker, who previously lived in HK and Singapore for over a decade, will focus on client relationships in Asia and help clients build or dispose of important collections."

Two years ago, Spink expanded in China with two new acquisitions: leading philatelic auction house Phila China and fine wine auction business Oeno China, founded by Anna Lee.

"Mr Stocker will work closely with Mrs Lee to grow the business in HK and meet the needs of our new collectors in Asia for both collectables and wine. He will continue to run the global business and will regularly travel to all our offices from the global hub of HK."

Spink have been holding auctions in HK since 1986. Multiple sales of stamps, coins, banknotes, bonds and shares certificates and wines currently take place there throughout the year.

Mr Stocker said: "We all know the collectables market has gone global," adding: "There has been a huge increase in auctioneering in Asia over recent years. Ten years ago, only Spink and a handful of others were active on the HK scene. This has led to a new demand for the finest collectables.

"China - and HK in particular - through its demanding and sophisticated collectors, is making an enormous impact on the cultural landscape of the auction business and it is essential that we capitalise further on this through the history, tradition and expertise of Spink. The future of the Penny Black and medieval gold noble is in HK and the mainland - that is why I am delighted to be back here, with my family, to be part of these fundamental changes.

"Collectables, as first-hand witnesses of history, are growing every day in popularity and have become, dare I say, an asset class of their own."