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Michael Wakelin spoke for many when he described his enthusiasm for the fair’s concept – a possible solution to “the need [for art and antiques dealers] to find new ways of engaging the public”. In addition to some of his best stock, he took along the annual furniture price figures supplied by the Antique Collectors’ Club and promoted Wakelin & Linfield as a consultancy that could offer expertise, advice and research when buying top-notch furniture.

“A different way of looking at things,” said I. Franks at their first ever exposition outside the Silver Vaults, while Wimbledon specialist William Turk was pushing the message that good quality longcases and bracket clocks had doubled since 1997 and are exempt from Capital Gains Tax.

However, despite John Bly’s positive reaction to the inaugural event – “Very refreshing …one of the best events I’ve done for some time” – most dealers were disappointed by the absence of the high-net-worth individuals that organisers Mash Events had promised in return for stand prices running at £2500 plus.

They were claiming 5000 visitors to the event, although numbers were boosted by free tickets issued at the busy property show next door and the ‘clicking’ in and out of exhibitors.

“To my knowledge I was the only dealer to make a sale,” said Chris Wilde Antiques of Harrogate, while Alexander von Moltke of SW1 complained the small number of visitors lacked the intrinsic initial interest necessary for any potential buyers of antiques. “We were not counting sales as you would at an antiques fair, but counting conversations,” he said.

Hopefully, some conversations may translate into business but before them few exhibitors were ready to book again.