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The deal has the backing of Abaca Capital, a Singapore-based investment firm whose investors include John Koh of Goldman Sachs and Mercedes Zobel of the Ayala Corporation in the Philippines (both individuals acting in a private capacity).

Mr Hirsch has taken an equity stake in the company and Anthony Spink, whose family founded the business in 1666, will remain on the board.

“This is the first step towards creating a specialist independent auction and dealing business,” said Mr Hirsch. “We are keen to build on our successful auction programme in Hong Kong and Singapore, using the network of contacts that Abaca brings to Spink.”