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Vicki Wonfor of Roseberys.

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Wonfor now joint MD at Roseberys

Auction house Roseberys has promoted Vicki Wonfor to joint managing director, working alongside chairman and joint MD Ian Cadzow.

Wonfor, 34, joined the firm in February 2009 as an administrator and worked her way up to management.

Three years ago the West Norwood auction house launched a strategy to focus on 10 specialist art and antiques sale categories and move away from general auctions.

She said: “2018 was the first year for our new sales schedule. My focus is to refine this strategy and cement these specialist sales and establish our reputation in these areas.”

Leach letters sell in Somerset auction

An archive of letters by leading studio pottery maker Bernard Leach (1887-1979) has been bought at auction by a museum which holds the largest collection of his material in the UK.

They were estimated at £600-1000 in Lawrences’ sale in Crewkerne, Somerset.

The lot sold for £3400 (plus 22% buyer’s premium) on October 11.

The buyer was the Crafts Study Centre museum in Farnham, Surrey.

Consigned for sale by his adopted son Maurice Leach, the letters – about 35 in total – were written by Bernard to Laurie Cookes, who became his second wife, in 1934-35 while he spent a year in Japan.

Meanwhile, on October 2 at Christie’s Un/Breakable auction in London, two tile panels by Leach c.1930 sold for £42,000 (plus 25% buyer’s premium) against an estimate of £30,000-50,000. This is an auction record for his work.

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Detail of one of the Bernard Leach letters sent from Japan in 1934-35 sold for £3400 by Lawrences of Crewkerne.

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The most clicked-on stories for week October 11-18 on antiquestradegazette.com

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2 Shredded £1.04m Banksy renamed Love is in the Bin to go on show at Sotheby’s auction house

3 Museums hit out at Titanic artefacts auction process

4 Movers and shakers: the latest trade appointments

5 Armada Table makes €360,000 at Adam’s in Ireland

New York ceramics fair back in action

Dealers have joined forces to relaunch The New York Antique Ceramics Fair with a traditional focus after the annual event was cancelled earlier this year.

It will continue to take place during New York Antiques Week, from January 17-20 at its usual venue, Bohemian National Hall. Unlike previous stagings, it will occupy just one floor of the hall, rather than two.

The last edition, known as The New York Ceramics and Glass Fair, hosted 28 exhibitors who offered glass as well as contemporary works.

Spearheaded by the traditional ceramics dealers who have exhibited in the past, the fair runs under the guidance of event-planning company Boruta Consulting.

So far eight dealers are confirmed, including Robb Walker of Polka Dot Antiques, Garry Atkins, Martyn Edgell and Earle D Vandekar of Knightsbridge.

Sotheby’s relaunch of Viyet website

Viyet, a website selling interior design objects, vintage and antique furniture which auction house Sotheby’s bought earlier this year, has been relaunched as Sotheby’s Home.

The site, founded in 2013 in the US, allows the auction house to move more into the middle-market of online retailing, with the majority of items valued at $5000 and below.

Sotheby’s said web traffic to viyet.com had increased over 200%, doubling monthly revenues since it bought it.

The site will expand its inventory and works with more than 60 galleries, showrooms and brands selling items from dealers such as Schumacher, Aerin, Jason Jacques Gallery, and Casati Gallery.

Etruscan statuette returned to Italy

An Etruscan bronze lar statuette has been repatriated to Italy after more than 30 years with the help of the Art Loss Register.

It was stolen from the Archaeological Museum in Siena along with a number of other items in 1988.

In May it appeared for a sale at a UK auction house and was matched to the lost object during a routine catalogue search by the ALR. It had been added to the company’s database and that of Interpol and the Carabinieri shortly after its disappearance.

ALR contacted police in Italy and the UK, and the consignor renounced his title after being informed of the provenance.

ALR’s James Ratcliffe said that the object had been offered by the auction house “unwittingly”.

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The stolen Etruscan bronze lar statuette now returned to Italy.

Barnebys buys ValueMyStuff

Online valuation firm ValueMyStuff, founded in 2010 by former Sotheby’s director Patrick van der Vorst, has been sold to Swedish group Barnebys.

The website, which offers paid-for online valuations provided by a team of valuers, had been working with Barnebys art and antiques search service for some time.

ValueMyStuff was owned from 2015 by online auction house Auctionata but, in March 2017 in the wake of the Auctionata bankruptcy, administrators sold the firm back to its founder for £120,000. Van der Vorst now becomes a shareholder in Barnebys.

In Numbers

$1m-1.5m

The estimate for a 1932 film poster of The Mummy starring Boris Karloff in the title role. If it meets expectations, the design on offer in the Sotheby’s New York online sale ending on October 31 will retake the film poster auction record price it held from 1997-2014.