The Fine Art Society in New Bond Street.

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Fine Art Society on the move in London

The five-storey townhouse at 148 New Bond Street has been the home of FAS since 1876 but, as rents and business rates have risen, the company has decided to find a new location elsewhere in the capital.

Pippa Stockdale, who joined the company in 2015, said it is “very early days and we are weighing up options”.

The firm also has a gallery in Dundas Street in Edinburgh’s New Town.

Gordon Cooke, director of The Fine Art Society, retired last year after 20 years at the gallery.

How one vendor could be quids in

Items offered at Essex firm TimeLine Auctions are usually hundreds of years old, but in the February 20-24 sale a coin created only last year is on offer.

And it is a humble British £1 coin. However, the £1000- 1400 estimate is explained by the fact it is a “spectacular error”, according to the saleroom’s head of coins Chris Wren.

This coin of the new type (only issued since March 2017) has been struck on a blank for the previous, obsolete and withdrawn £1 design coin rather than on the new bi-metallic flan that should have been used.

In simple terms, it is all gold in colour rather than silver with a gold border.


The TimeLine Auctions £1 error coin (on the right, with a normal example left).

Bearing the date 2017, it was discovered in circulation by a shopper who found it among his change.

Wren adds: “Errors of this nature are extremely rare – I do not think I have ever previously heard of a new issue being struck on a blank made for the previous, obsolete type, as in this case.

“I imagine that one of the old blanks got stuck in the machinery and shook loose later, so got wrongly struck with the new dies.”

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Diplomatic gifts is seminar subject

Diplomacy, Power and Wealth has been announced as the title for the second Haughton International Seminar.

Taking place at Christie’s on June 27-28, the two-day event focuses on ceramic, silver and sculptural items given as international diplomatic gifts through ambassadors. Courts around the world from Europe, China and the Ottoman Empire will be discussed as will the power and wealth of the ruling classes and collectors in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Prof Dame Rosalind Savill, formerly of the Wallace Collection and author of The Wallace Collection Catalogue of Sèvres Porcelain, is among 15 speakers.

Tickets go on sale on Wednesday, February 14. The booking form can be found at

Duke’s coin expert becomes dealer


Timothy Medhurst, who is launching a coin dealership.

Coin specialist Timothy Medhurst is leaving Duke’s auctioneers this month to set up his own dealership in coins and antiquities.

Timothy Medhurst Coins and Antiquities is due to launch online at the end of April. He will also offer freelance auctioneering and consultancy services.

Medhurst has been at Duke’s since 2014 where he heads the Dorchester auctioneer’s coins, medals and antiquities department. He has also been involved in the vetting of coins and medals at the Olympia fair.

Before joining Duke’s, Medhurst was at Colchester auctioneers Reeman Dansie for six years. He continues to be based in the south-west.

“I felt there was a gap in the market to present coins in a fresh, 21st century way, selling them not just as collectors’ items but as pieces of history,” he added.

Ivory, Brexit and GDPR on agenda

The ivory ban, Brexit and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and insurance valuations will be among the topics at the RICS Valuation 2018 conference on March 1 in London.

The conference will include an Arts and Antiques/Personal Property session. Andrea Amadesi, chair of RICS Global Personal Property/Arts & Antiques Professional Group Board, is among the speakers.

Rare ‘baby’ house stays put for now

A Georgian ‘baby’ house has been barred from export from the UK in the hope a buyer can be found.

The early 18th century house was sold at Sotheby’s May 23 sale of The Ballyedmond Collection and the buyer applied to take it out of the country.

A UK buyer is being sought by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport to match an asking price of £65,000 (plus £13,000 VAT).

The decision to defer the export licence follows a recommendation by The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest which is administered by The Arts Council.


The 1720-40 ‘baby’ house sold at Sotheby’s which is now barred from export in the hope a UK buyer can be found.

The decision was based on the house’s outstanding significance for the study of the history and material culture of childhood.

Made between 1720-40 of mahogany, oak and softwood, with glazed windows, it is believed to be one of only around 30 surviving examples of pre- 1760 English baby houses.

It descended through the family of William Edward Forster, the Liberal MP who introduced the Education Act of 1870 and was later chief secretary for Ireland. It passed through the ownership of dealer Christopher Gibbs and was later sold at Bonhams in 2009 before the Sotheby’s sale.

In Numbers

$78.2m (£55m)

The premium-inclusive total from the five Old Master and 19th century art sales held at Sotheby’s New York and one Old Master drawing sale at Christie’s New York last week. With one day sale still to come at the time of going to press, this figure was already well above the $45.96m (£36.6m) generated at the equivalent sales last year.