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The outcome has been the identification of five key fields on which they intend to concentrate their energies and a decision to close some of the firm's Oriental departments.

“We are focusing our company on things we're really good at”, managing director Tim Hirsch told the Antiques Trade Gazette last week. “We have abandoned the department store idea where you can come in and look around and are trying to have a real focus for each part of our of business”.

The five key fields are:

• coins, banknotes, medals and stamps (including auctions) which will operate from the new Bloomsbury premises from March 20;

• Spink's special commissions service for new medals and presentation items, which also moves to Bloomsbury;

• Spink's furniture restoration, based in Battersea;

• Spink Leger, their picture branch, which operates from Bond Street;

• Spink's Indian and Islamic works of art department which will operate from a new St James's location under Simon Ray.

Spink are closing their other Asian departments related to Chinese, Japanese and Korean; S.E. Asian, Tibetan and Himalayan works of art and as a result some redundancies are foreseen. Mr Hirsch couldn't give an exact number last week although he reckoned there would not be more than seven.

The move to Bloomsbury and the acquisition of the new premises at 69, Southampton Row was prompted by Christie's forthcoming redevelopment of Spink's current King Street location and the need for premises that were better suited to the company's expanding coins, banknotes, stamps and medals business. It also has the advantage of being near the British Museum, in a district long associated with these traditional collecting areas.

Behind the Edwardian façade, the Southampton Row building has been completely redesigned to provide five floors that will incorporate a bespoke auction room seating 120, viewing facilities, custom-built offices, retail display, catalogue and book areas.

In a move to offer a more effective and enhanced service to clients, administrative services will be centralised and there will be a clearer division between administration and expertise to enable specialists to concentrate on business getting and cataloguing.

The new building will also house resources for Spink's Website www.spink-online.com, which will be launched to coincide with the move. One of the site's key features is an extensive 24-hour virtual gallery displaying items for sale from all five key areas.

Numismatic and related items, pictures, Indian and Islamic art, special commissions and restoration services are all illustrated in colour and can be searched by category along with auction dates, details and news.

“Our relocation to the new premises enables us to grow the business and offers a truly unique proposition,” said Mr Hirsch. “For the first time everything needed by clients to enrich their collecting interests can be found under one roof.”