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Stephanie Kenyon, who has been in the business in the area for 25 years, and veteran journalist Mark Smith, who is handling finance and logistics for the venture, have been working on the project for 18 months.

They say they have amassed what they estimate to be $11.5m worth of consignments for future sales. Weekly events, beginning this month, will be complemented by select catalogued sales, the first scheduled for late January.