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The Grant Thornton-sponsored annual awards scheme recognises the achievements of quoted companies listed outside of the FTSE 350. Stanley Gibbons was one of six companies shortlisted.

The award goes to the acquisition deemed most innovative/opportunistic in terms of price paid, and judges consider the structure of the deal (the mix of shares, borrowings, fundraising used) and its impact on earnings for shareholders.

The Noble Investments deal, secured in September 2013, brought leading numismatic specialists Baldwin into the group along with companies operating under The Fine Art Auction Group banner (TFAAG) - provincial auctioneers Dreweatts, whose main salerooms are in Donnington Priory near Newbury, and Bloomsbury Auctions, headquartered in Maddox Street in the West End of London.

Fraser's, the autograph and memorabilia dealer, and Benham, a collectables specialist operating principally in the first day covers market, also formed part of the deal.

Manhattan and Mayfair

A year on, Stanley Gibbons also acquired Mallett through TFAAG. One of the leading traditional dealer brands in Mayfair and celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2015, Mallett brought with it Ely House, the former palace of the Bishop of Ely, in Dover Street, affording Dreweatts and Bloomsbury the opportunity to create a premium auction space just up the road from Sotheby's, Bonhams and Christie's.

The Mallet deal also brought the group a base in the heart of Manhattan and a much-coveted stand at TEFAF Maastricht, the world's leading art and antiques fair.

Stanley Gibbons have also since acquired Murray Payne, dealers in George VI stamps.

The other major development since the acquisition of Noble Investments has been the transfer of the Baldwin operation in November 2014 from their Adelphi Terrace headquarters in Charing Cross, to the other side of The Strand in Stanley Gibbons own premises, yielding £4.5m from the property disposal.

Benefits of Expansion

The Stanley Gibbons Group's latest results, announced in November 2014, showed sales up 58% and trading profits up 217%, and they credited the success in part to the benefits of the expanded combined group.

"Stanley Gibbons has successfully integrated Noble as part of the wider group, allowing it to significantly expand the range of commodities it deals in, while also scaling up its auction services," said a company spokesman.

Group CEO Mike Hall added: "We are delighted to have won this award. The acquisition of Noble and the subsequent acquisitions of Murray Payne and Mallett show the steps that we have taken in our strategy to develop the group into a leading online marketplace and global auction house for collectibles.

"We are really beginning to see the benefits of the combined expertise we have within the group and this is reflected in the quality of the recent collections consigned to our auctions division."