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Woolley & Wallis of Salisbury have had their best ever year, with an overall hammer turnover of £6.44m, up 22 per cent on last year’s figure.
Chairman and managing director Paul Viney attributed the success to a loyal customer base, some choice consignments (including material from a descendant of the Dukes of Newcastle and a £180,000 portrait by Thomas Lawrence) and the appointment of two former Christie’s South Kensington specialists. Under the aegis of spoon guru Alexis Butcher, the silver department at the Salisbury salerooms has turned over £1m for the first time, while the contribution of Michael Jeffreys’ expertise in the field of decorative arts has seen the ceramics departments top £1.5m in annual revenue.

Gorringes, who in 2003 sold more than 70,000 lots of antiques and collectables, reported total sales of just under £7.5m. That figure was down from £8.1m in 2002, although results from the previous year were helped by a one-off £500,000 consignment and the sale of a single picture for £200,000. The Gorringes group were boosted last year by the acquisition of R.H. Ellis in Worthing, a record turnover for their Garden Street salerooms at £1.35m and a record sale for the Bexhill-on-Sea branch, where a radially expanding dining table by Johnstone and Jupe sold at £135,000.

Lyon & Turnbull of Edinburgh announced figures for the year of £5.12m hammer and just over £6m with premium.

Duke’s of Dorchester were on a par with last year at around £3.5m, helped by some spectacular successes, including a pair of George III mahogany hall benches that were once part of the furniture at William Beckford’s Fonthill Abbey, and a Yongzheng mark and period blue and white vase sold for £100,000 in September. “The best things continue to perform and often outstrip expectations while demand for the more modest material remains selective,” said Guy Schwinge, who promises some good merchandise for the New Year.

Extrapolating their annual turnover based upon the recent acquisition of Dreweatt Neate, the Fine Art Auction Group are claiming an annual turnover of £12.2m.

They reach that figure based upon a full 12 months of sales at Bracketts, Edgar Horns, the Honiton Galleries, Robin A. Fenner and Salehurst, plus “annualised” results based upon seven months of business from the Bristol Auction Rooms (acquired in June) and the handful of sales held at Donnington Priory since Dreweatt Neate joined the group in November.

Despite these being extrapolated rather than actual figures, FAAG marketing director Bruce Cairnduff said the company expect, and have budgeted for, improvements upon the £12.2m this year.

Figures from other leading auction houses were not available at the time of going to press but will be published as and when they are submitted to the Antiques Trade Gazette.