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Osenat, pictured right, vowed to defend the collective interests of the profession at national and European level and called for the SYMEV and the Conseil des Ventes (the national auction watchdog) to “speak with one voice” in lobbying the State on auction law, starting with registration and insurance issues.

Around 250 (two thirds) of France’s auctioneers have joined SYMEV since it was founded two years ago in the wake of France’s auction reform.

• The Hôtel Drouot in Paris is to stage its first open day – in fact an open weekend – on December 13-14, with the aim of introducing the auction world to a wider public. There will be guided tours of the Drouot building, exhibitions in the 16 salerooms, and auctioneers and experts will be on hand to explain the auction system and what Drouot has to offer. Admission is free, opening hours each day 11am-7pm.