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James Harvey, chief executive of Stanley Gibbons-owned The Fine Art Auction Group, is thought to have been parachuted in to oversee the auction firm in the interim.

Gibbons says other potential buyers are waiting in the wings.

Law entered into an agreement to buy the two firms in May through a company called Millicent Holdings, but after his financial backer walked away from the £2.4m deal he has been searching for alternative funding.

A July 31 deadline to complete the deal was extended but on August 4 Stanley Gibbons issued a London Stock Exchange announcement which said: “Despite the company’s best efforts and the latitude it has shown to Millicent in extending the deadline for completion, it is now apparent that Millicent is unable to access the funds it had earmarked for payment.”

Law told ATG he was still hopeful of a deal. In a statement he said: “I remain at Donnington Priory, and am working with Stanley Gibbons to close this transaction through Millicent Holdings. We envisage a further announcement shortly.”

'Other interested parties'

Stanley Gibbons said it believes “there are other parties interested” in buying elements of its ‘Interiors division’. This means the exclusivity period that Law’s Millicent was afforded has ended and Gibbons is free to discuss the sale of the division with any interested parties. Stanley Gibbons said a termination fee is now payable by Millicent and it will seek to recover this by “enforcing certain collateral that was provided to the company”.

Richard Madley

Richard Madley, a director of Dreweatts since 2005, confirmed he had left the auction house.

Last week Richard Madley, a director of Dreweatts since 2005, confirmed he had left the company.

He said: “Following 40 years as an auctioneer the time is right to leave Dreweatts and do something different.”

Madley, whose career has encompassed stints in the UK and New York at Phillips, Christie’s, Hamptons and Dreweatts, is the auctioneer of players for cricket’s Indian Premier League (IPL).

He has visited the country, where he is known as ‘Hammer Man’, 18 times and now wants to spend time exploring the area.

“This is an angle of the auction industry that no one else has touched. I think it is time I capitalised on my experience with the IPL,” said Madley.