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In the 1970s at Bluett & Sons, the Mayfair Oriental art dealer, there was a framed photograph of the interior of a wooden Chinese hat box, with an ink description which could be translated as ‘once spoken, no two prices’.

All the stock on show was clearly marked with a price, from which dealers could expect a 10% discount. In the Bluett Archive there is a sheet of paper, dating to the 1970s, with a manuscript note reading:

5% off marked price:-

[Four important private collectors]

Museums

In the 1930s Alfred Clark, chairman of His Master’s Voice and probably Bluett’s most important customer, was allowed a ‘5% cash discount on his many purchases’.

Dominic Jellinek

Princes Risborough

Buckinghamshire