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Fourteen specialist dealers from Europe and America will take part, representing the cream of the international antiquities trade. Exhibitors will include Rupert Wace and Charles Ede Ltd. from London, Jean-David Cahn of Basel, Archea Ancient Art from Amsterdam, Antiken Kabinett of Frankfurt and New York’s Royal-Athena Galleries.

The new fair is the initiative of Vincent Geerling of Archea Ancient Art, Amsterdam who last year co-founded the Brussels Ancient Art Fair, which is not strictly a fair but more a festival involving many galleries with concurrent selling shows.

The Basel Ancient Art Fair arises from the ashes of Cultura, an internatonal fair which ran for five years at the Messe Basel exhibiton halls. Despite much critical acclaim the fixture always struggled to balance its books and finally proved to be financially inviable. Its final staging was last November when there were 55 exhibitors.

Although Cultura was a multi-disciplined event, there was never any doubt that antiquities was its core, and that the antiquities section within the fair was the main international forum in the field, attracting serious attention from both collectors and museums. All the exhibitors at the new autumn fair were Cultura regulars.

Given that Switzerland, particularly Basel and Zurich, has a long tradition of both trading in and collecting antiquities, and is known for its high degree of connoisseurship in the field, it was almost inconceivable that some sort of specialist antiquities event would not continue in the city following the demise of Cultura.

However, Vincent Geerling is keen to emphasise that this new fair is very much its own master, and in no way connected with past events.

Indeed he was offered the facilities at Messe Basel but chose to move to Wenkenhof, an 18th century building set in parkland, to emphasise that The Basel Ancient Art Fair has its own identity.

All 14 exhibitors are members of the International Association of Dealers in Ancient Art (IADAA) and this is a strict condition of participation. In possibly the most problematical of all collecting areas, IADAA members must guarantee the authenticity of their stock and practice due diligence regarding provenance.