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A consignment deadline of November 1 has been set for the sale in Beijing in December.

There will be some significant differences between this event and China's First Free Port Auction of Western Artworks held by the association in Xiamen in Fujian province in April.

Key among these is the specialist nature of the sale that will focus only on European silver, electroplate and decorative French table clocks.

Silver, that has the advantage of being relatively portable, proved the strong suit of the ground-breaking sale in April when a much broader cross-section of Western taste met with very mixed results. Formal dining in the European style is increasingly popular in China and the benefits of the English hallmarking system were not lost on an audience eager for any form of consumer protection and the proof that the item they buy is over 100 years old and hence devoid of tax.

There is, said Stephan Ludwig, executive chairman of Dreweatts and Bloomsbury who has just returned from Beijing, "a sensational appetite" for smoking- and wine-related antiques and the association will also be taking complete canteens and the standard tea and coffee wares that sold so well in Fujian province.

New Venue

In contrast to the glamour-free surroundings of the Xiamen Freeport (1300 miles south of Beijing), the venue for the December event will be a capital city hotel - the precise venue to be decided shortly. Bringing items into the People's Republic necessitates extra paperwork (and a bond will be posted with authorities pending import duties), but it brings the sale much closer to the antique-buying community.

Online bidding portal Epailive will again promote the event (in Mandarin and English) to its 100,000 registered members, but the sale will be held with a new Chinese partner - Infinity Auctions of Beijing, a subsidiary of a real estate development company, who will conduct the sale.

Triple-A has issued an open invitation to all of its 21 members to consign items to the sale in the hope of meeting the target of 300-350 lots by November 1. The auction is due to take place on December 22 with a press conference and VIP opening on the 19th.

"This opportunity to offer the Chinese market a selection of English antique silver has come about as a direct consequence of the valuable experiences from our inaugural auction in Xiamen last April," said association chairman Chris Ewbank. "Triple-A is again making Chinese auction history with this ground-breaking venture in China's political and cultural capital."

Contact info@aaa-live.com for more information.