ATG Letters coverage of TV antiques shows has enthused many – but upset a few others.

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Surely we should be airing our viewpoints on matters relating to the antiques trade?

After all, the whole purpose of ATG is to inform us all as to what is happening in the trade both inside and outside this country, and it does this very well, but the letters page is full of TV shows.

Watching people buying antiques or anything else is very low on my interest. What I do find interesting is what happens at the auction in the last few minutes of the show to have an idea what is in vogue.

Let us get back to debating things relevant to the trade. One such item is the introduction of condition report charges [by the Moore Allen & Innocent auction house for lower-value items].

My opinion is that it is fine to charge for a condition report but to refund the charge to the bidder if they enter a worthwhile bid on the item, otherwise no charge is returned.

How this system is to be operated will be down to the individual auction house. It will save them wasting time doing this for someone who does not intend to bid – this will not be known until the time of the sale.

OK, unusual, but if people are not interested in bidding on the lot they would be paying for the privilege. Now let’s start the debate.

Ken Lewis

Bidding when abroad

MADAM – For those of us based abroad who buy regularly from UK auction houses, I find the proposed condition report charges for lower-value items counter-productive.

We rely on those reports to guide our bidding decisions especially through provincial auctioneers as visits are inconvenient.

I trust this questionable initiative will not become the norm.

Peter Rollason

Divonne, France

A New Year’s resolution?

MADAM – I cannot understand why auction houses have never charged for condition reports.

It is only fair, considering the time involved, for a price to be put on their knowledge and opinion, and if they get it wrong and the purchaser has a report then the lot will soon be returned.

So, come on auctioneers, make a New Year’s resolution: £10 per lot (plus VAT) is not a great deal to get more information from an expert, especially if you cannot attend the sale in person.

D Cavanagh

Cavanagh Antiques, Edinburgh