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All three sales had been scheduled to take place at Sotheby’s Galerie Charpentier premises on the rue du Faubourg St Honoré. The agreement between Sotheby’s and Poulain Le Fur would have allowed the former to circumvent the delays in French auction law reform (under the existing regulations, only state registered auctioneers are allowed to conduct sales). But following a complaint lodged by the Paris Compagnie des Commissaires-Priseurs, an eleventh hour Paris court ruling on June 22 forbade Sotheby’s from staging the sales at their Paris headquarters. An alternative venue was then set up at Poulain Le Fur’s saleroom at the Palais de Congres, Porte Maillot. As this is in the west of Paris, it necessitated a lengthy, late night convoy the day before the first auction to ferry the sale contents from the view at Galerie Charpentier to the new sale venue.

The change of location from central Paris to the périphérique did not appear to deter potential buyers. Over 400 people including major members of the Paris trade filled Poulain Le Fur’s spacious new saleroom for the Laura sale augmented by plenty of telephone bidders on the 30 lines which the auctioneers had installed for the event.

By the end of the six-hour auction, the 350 lots of furniture, objects and Chinese porcelain had raised a premium inclusive Fr64.lm topping the upper end of the auctioneers’ Fr40-60m projection. Much of the buying was done by phone but there
was also lively and active competition and purchasing in the room.

Talking after the sale Me. Hervé Poulain and Sotheby’s Princesse de Beauvau Craon both said they were particularly impressed by the degree of activity from the room.

The Library of Charles Hayoit, which followed the Laura sale on June 28 and 29, raised a further premium inclusive Fr26.2m.