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The 1958 mahogany and rosewood sideboard sold by James Strang at the 'Antiques for Everyone’ fair in Birmingham.

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“Business has been as strong as ever at the NEC,” said David Hickmet. “Clients now have the reassurance that they can buy pre-1947 pieces with less than 10% ivory.”

This was the first of the three annual AfE at Birmingham's NEC this year.

For some it was an opportunity to meet many new collectors. For Brad Dover of ceramics specialist Jupiter Antiques, first-time customers accounted for 90% of the business. Pottery and porcelain dealer Julian Eade, meanwhile, also met a number of potential clients at what he called his most successful fair ever.

“It pays off to take a large stand and offer a great variety of stock,” Eade said. “I’ve sold to many new collectors, regular and overseas visitors, particularly from the Asian market.”

Other sales included a Martinware bird which Alison Davey of AD Antiques sold for a substantial five-figure sum. Saunders Fine Art, which offers mainly 18th and 19th century oil paintings, sold a group of pictures for more than £275,000 to a potential new client.

A 1958 mahogany and rosewood sideboard,  offered at the stand of James Strang, a specialist in Scottish Arts & Crafts furniture, for £1500 and sold to a private collector. It was designed by Robert Heritage for Archie Shine’s Hamilton Range.

This edition included the introduction of a new, weekend-only Section Three.

Director Mary Claire Boyd said: “It’s been a very busy fair with a strong attendance, significantly up on this time last year. We introduced the new Section Three at the weekend, which is our first significant change to the fair for many years and we shall be looking carefully at its operation and making the necessary adjustments for its continued success.”