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A merger of the two major antiques trade associations, The British Antique Dealers’ Association (BADA) and LAPADA, is again up for discussion among the trade.

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A former BADA council member who supports the idea of a single trade voice is asking dealers for their opinion on the subject.

In a letter to ATG, dealer Kaye Michie said: “It would be great to get members of both organisations’ thoughts on the matter. We need to be inclusive and encourage the young to be part of the trade.

Kaye Michie

‘We need to be inclusive’ says former BADA Council member Kaye Michie.

“I am not knocking either association, but the time has come to act. Both associations have served a good purpose alongside each other in the past.

“But now the trade is smaller, and both associations are losing members, it is time they looked at merging.”

Perennial topic

The topic was discussed in May 2017 at an Antiques Trade Gazette ‘Round Table’ event but the coronavirus pandemic, Brexit, increased regulation and the continued rise of online trade has brought the issue to the front of many members’ minds.

ATG contacted both trade associations and invited them to comment.

Freya Simms, chief executive of LAPADA, said: “Our primary responsibilities as a trade association are to protect the interests of our members while promoting best practice.

“At the moment, that means helping them as much as possible to negotiate the post- Brexit, pandemic-struck world and to do so as they also face the upcoming enforcement of new anti-money laundering rules.

“We must all acknowledge that time and circumstances change, and that means keeping an open mind on many subjects, but any such development in our relationship with other bodies would need the wholehearted support of all involved.

“Unless and until that moment arrives, we are very happy to continue the productive partnership we enjoy with our highly respected colleagues at the British Antique Dealers’ Association.”

A spokesman for BADA said: “The BADA are happy to make a comment but feel unable to do so at this time without sight of the content of the letter or the article.”