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The old rule of ‘caveat emptor’ often still stands, but where buyers are increasingly physically distanced from the saleroom they are reliant on the view of the auctioneer and specialist.

If a professional opinion is asked for and received then it is down to the provider of that opinion to either stand by it or admit fault if a disagreement arises.

The number of requests for condition reports in ceramic sales is now overwhelming, but this is the modern auction world.

None of us is infallible and mistakes do happen.

But if a condition report provided by an auction house states that a lot is perfect and it is found not to be then I cannot see how that is the fault of the vendor.

For an auction house to say otherwise would suggest either a lack of faith in their own ability or a distinctly miserly attitude.

Clare Durham

British and Continental ceramics specialist

Woolley & Wallis, Salisbury