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Its traditional home, the Seventh Regiment Armory on Park Avenue at 67th Street, had reverted to its primary function as a military installation, and it was only when it was gone American dealers and exhibiting dealers from throughout the world realised just how much this fair mattered.

Dealers from New York and Europe mounted exhibitions of the stock they had bought specially for the fair at various Manhattan galleries, and I went over to see how they were faring. It was a brave effort but to a man every exhibitor at the Haughtons’ fair, and many others, said they did not realise just how important that event was until it was cancelled.

The Haughtons brought top-rank, vetted antiques fairs to America and transformed the American fairs scene, and it was to general relief that they returned to the Armory for their flagship fair last year.

They are back at the Armory from October 17 to 23 for their 15th International Fine Art and Antique Dealers Show and have brought together some 70 top international dealers for what is acknowledged as one of the world’s great fairs.

Like the handful of other top international fairs over a decade and a half, this one has developed its own identity.

Difficult as it is in the rather unprepossessing Armory, which surprisingly remains New York City’s chosen – some think only – location for top quality antiques fairs, this is a good-looking fair which successfully blends the impressive and the important.

There is plenty here of real importance, which is why this particular event is such a favourite with not just serious collectors and decorators but museum curators all over the world. At the glitzy benefit preview on the evening of October 16 you will not only see the Upper East Side socialites showing they can afford $1000 a head to be seen trawling the booths, but a large contingent of museum people who cannot afford to miss the eclectic mix of strictly vetted stock.

This was the fair which brought antiques internationalism to New York and the Haughtons have carefully chosen their exhibitors to provide a balance of quality. It may surprise many to learn that with 29 dealers the largest contingent at the International fair is from the UK, with 26 from the United States.

But wherever they are from, the big names of the international trade will be on parade at the Armory, Dandois, Vervoordt, Agnew, Mallett, Hyde Park Antiques, Wartski, Vallois, Perrin and Partridge are a sample.

Partridge of Bond Street return to the fair as does the noted New York rug dealer Doris Leslie Blau.

Joining the fair for the first time are New York Tiffany specialists Lillian Nassau; Cove Landing from New York with period European furniture and paintings; Gerard Orts from Paris with 18th century works; Amells of Stockholm and London with Scandinavian pictures; Chicago’s Douglas Dawson Gallery with African art; Philadelphia Arts and Crafts dealer John Alexander and picture dealers Emmanuel Moatti from Paris and MacConnal-Mason from London.

Last year there was a palpable sense of goodwill when the Haughtons International fair returned to the fold and a number of dealers commented that it meant the New York antiques scene was really back in business. This year there are signs that trade is picking up a bit so it will be interesting to see at this fair whether New York is seriously back doing business. Admission is $16.