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Robin Fisher, director at Mallams.

Mallams, founded in 1788, once experimented with removing its foundation date from the firm’s logo.

“The year that Mallams was founded, 1788, is part of the company logo and on our website. It’s also on our advertising and all communications with buyers and vendors.

It does make a difference, as those other venerable auction houses Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Bonhams would no doubt agree. We’ve got a long history of being in business and in the antiques trade, that means a lot to buyers and sellers.

It gives them confidence that we’ve been around a long time (leading them to think that there must be good reasons why we’re still going), and we’re a business that has been in a particular location and is part of the fabric of that location.

In particular, people consign because we promote our foundation date. A lot of things we sell have passed through Mallams in the past and this is used as provenance.

A while ago, we wanted a more modern look and contemporary image and as part of that, we took ‘1788’ off our logo as were worried it might make us look like a fuddy-duddy business.

And yet all that we do, the type of sales we run, our young staff and our website prove otherwise – that Mallams is a very forward-thinking company.

So after a short time, a blip really, during which people asked us to reconsider what we’d done, we reinstated 1788 to our logo. It had never left our communications, but a firm’s logo is a very powerful visual symbol that represents your business.

I’m glad we did this test, as it reaffirmed that Mallams has a history – we’re 230 years old this year – which is a vital part of our brand.”

“We took ‘1788’ off our logo and quite quickly put it back



George Bailey, chairman of Dreweatts 1759.

Dreweatts rebranded to include its foundation date after the auction house’s purchase by art advising and valuations firm Gurr Johns in October 2017.

“Being a historic firm with past success won’t do much to your brand unless you’re working hard in the present. You will be judged on the service you give on any given day, so the most effective way to enhance your brand is by consistently going above and beyond to deliver outstanding client service and expertise.

“Highlighting your firm’s age can help when new clients are finding you online

However, in an industry largely based on knowledge, experience and relationships, it can only help to highlight that your company has a long history and has survived for centuries in a competitive environment.

If you respect the historic values of the company, and strive to continue and build on them, then highlighting your firm’s age can definitely enhance its brand.


Dreweatts’ premises at Donnington Priory.

It can be particularly effective in today’s competitive art market where a lot of our new clients are from outside the UK – our traditional market – and where many initially find us online.

Those new customers are less likely to have heard of Dreweatts and to know that it is a long-established, 18th century company certainly seems to add to our appeal.

The way we serve them should go further still in enhancing the brand.”