Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Defra survey to gauge ivory impact

Defra (the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) has launched an online survey aiming to gauge the anticipated volume of ivory items under the new Ivory Act’s four exemption categories that will be subject to self-registration if planned for sale.

The law is due to come into effect later this year.

Defra’s online survey is short – four questions – and closes at 10am on Friday, January 25. You can find it here on the Defra website.

Two US auction houses join forces

US salerooms Leslie Hindman Auctioneers and Cowan’s Auctions have been brought together under one umbrella company in a private equity-backed deal. The two firms will continue to operate under their separate names for the foreseeable future.


Thomas Galbraith with Leslie Hindman and Wes Cowan.

The parent company will be run by Leslie Hindman Auctioneers CEO Thomas Galbraith, enabling the two auction houses to share back office functions. Details of the financial arrangement and the private equity firm involved have not been disclosed.

Both founders of their respective firms will remain involved in the company.

Leslie Hindman, who founded Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in 1982 in Chicago, will serve on the board as co-chair. Wes Cowan, who founded Cowan’s Auctions in 1995 in Cincinnati, will become vice chair.

Bookshops decline ‘has been halted’

The decline in independent bookshops in the UK appears to have been halted with growth recorded for the second year in a row.

Between 1995-2016 the number of independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland had declined every year to a low of just 867 shops in 2016.

However, for the past two years the sector appears to be back in growth, according to figures from The Booksellers Association’s annual membership survey. The survey found its independent bookshop membership grew by 15 to 883 in 2018 compared with the previous 12 months.

The news provides a fillip for the antiquarian, rare and secondhand book trade who form part of the membership of The Booksellers Association. The Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association has also noted an increase in membership.

The trade are preparing for The London Bookshop Crawl which returns for a fourth year next month. The not-for-profit event is on February 8-10 with 21 antiquarian, rare and second-hand bookshops taking part.

McConnell glass book launch

Glass dealer and BBC Antiques Roadshow specialist Andy McConnell has launched a book to document the history of glass.

He has spent 18 years researching and writing The Decanter, Ancient to Modern which has just been published.


Glass dealer Andy McConnell.

The nearly 500-page book features 3500 examples, telling the history of glassware using the evolution of decanters, flasks and bottles.

Around 1500 copies have been produced and he is selling them at his Glass Etc shop in Rye, East Sussex, and online via Amazon for £70.

McConnell has featured on the Antiques Roadshow for more than 14 years and has run his shop for more than a decade.

He has a personal collection of more than 30,000 pieces of glass and has written several books about the subject including The Decanter: An Illustrated History of Glass from 1650 and 20th Century Glass.

French salerooms reveal turnover

December is when French auction houses (and the French arms of international auction firms) traditionally post their annual turnover figures or bilan.

Sotheby’s France chalked up €251.4m for 2108, its third consecutive rise and an increase on last year’s €246m. Helping Sotheby’s total was a Qianlong mark and period vase which sold for a premium-inclusive €16.18m (£14.2m) in June last year and was the most expensive lot sold at auction across France in 2018.


The Qianlong mark and period vase that sold for a premium-inclusive €16.18m (£14.2m) at Sotheby’s France.

Christie’s French operation realised a total of €234.5m against €342.3m in 2017, when results were boosted by results such as a €25m Alberto Giacometti figure.

Artcurial’s total for its Paris, Lyon, Toulouse and Monaco operations was €195.3m, a slight increase on the €191m for 2017. It included the highest price recorded in 2018 for an Impressionist painting in France – the €7.07m paid in June for an early landscape by Vincent van Gogh.

(Figures for Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Artcurial include premiums and aftersales but not private sales.)

Chelsea Art Fair is cancelled

The Chelsea Art Fair, which was due to return in April, has been cancelled indefinitely.

It did not run last year while refurbishments took place at the venue, Chelsea Old Town Hall. Last month, a message on its website announced that the event, a division of Penman Fairs, would not return.

“Most regrettably two other art events running at the same time were able to provide booking details well before Chelsea’s new details and costs were available,” it said.

“Thus many previous exhibitors felt it prudent to book the other fairs in case Chelsea did not run. Now that sad fact has come to pass.”

Most read

The most clicked-on stories for week January 3-9 on antiquestradegazette.com

1 Former Thomas Watson director David Elstob launches auction house with wife Beth

2 Five auction highlights including a Liverpool delft soup bowl

3 Dealer and Antiques Roadshow specialist Andy McConnell launches book on the history of glass

4 Movers and shakers: the latest trade appointments including new faces at TW Gaze, Heritage Auctions and Leslie Hindman Auctioneers

5 New year, new resolutions: 12 pledges to make 2019 a good year to be in art and antiques

In Numbers


The number of responses received when a formal public consultation on the updates contained in the Control of Trade in Endangered Species Regulations 2018 was conducted in 2015. Defra received 16 responses from individuals and 33 from organisations.

However, a total of 71,238 responses were received when Defra conducted a consultation on banning UK sales of ivory in 2017.