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Conditions of sale

Cotswold auction house Moore Allen & Innocent set the cat among the pigeons with the news that it is trialling methods to encourage more people to attend its saleroom.

Among the changes is a £10 charge for condition reports for lots that are estimated at less than £100.

The policy prompted several concerned letters to the ATG inbox, but Moore Allen & Innocent partner Philip Allwood surely spoke for many long-suffering regional auctioneers when he said: “It is no longer possible to make money on the lower-end goods that we once relied on for our bread and butter.”

Memorably he added: “The bread has gone stale and the butter is rancid. In terms of our overheads, it costs us around £30 per lot, so those that are less than £50 are costing us money to store, photograph and catalogue.”

From last week (December 12) the firm pledged not to sell boxed lots and lower-value items online. Instead these lots will be offered as the first 200 lots of each auction in the room only, catalogued with a single line and no photo.

Putting your money where…

As if he was a contestant on one of his own TV shows, former Flog It! presenter Paul Martin, announced he is opening a new art and antiques gallery in Corsham.

Martin has worked as a dealer while presenting shows – his latest offering is Make Me A Dealer. He ran a stall on Portobello Road and previously traded as The Table Gallery in Marlborough.

The new gallery in Corsham, also to be called The Table Gallery, will launch with a guest appearance by pop artist Sir Peter Blake in late February. Martin will also begin filming for a second new show, Curiosity, in January. This is described as a cross between an antiques show and Crystal Maze and will be co-hosted with a Bassett hound called Baxter.

ATG looks forward to receiving as many letters on this new show as it has for Make Me A Dealer

Key sales

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‘Mother and Child’, a watercolour drawing by Henry Moore – £16,000 at Chiswick Auctions.

This small pencil, wax crayon and watercolour drawing by Henry Moore (1898-1986) sold for £16,000 (plus 25% buyer’s premium) at Chiswick Auctions on December 12.

Mother and Child, 7 x 5in (18 x 14cm) signed and dated 1942, remained in the artist’s studio until it was gifted to the Italian actor and journalist Sandro Paternostro in 1973 and had remained with the family.

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South German quarter striking astronomical table clock with alarm c.1570 – $220,000 (£170,000) at Bonhams New York.

The December 6 Art of Time at Bonhams New York was led at $220,000/£170,000 (plus 25% buyer’s premium) by this south German quarter striking astronomical table clock with alarm c.1570.

This clock is the most recent addition to a group of late 16th century German horizontal table clocks known as the Orpheus clocks. While none of these clocks are identical (and the maker has not been identified), all share a case with a finely cast frieze depicting the legend of Orpheus and Euridice.