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Edinburgh-based Lyon & Turnbull recorded hammer sales of £10m between January and December.

The aggregate was almost exactly that posted in the previous year but achieved without the contribution of general sales that were dropped in late 2014 in favour of fully catalogued events.

This year the auctioneers will hold a June sale (with sister-firm Freemans of Philadelphia) in Hong Kong, an event that includes a Xuande (1426-35) mark and period stem cup consigned by Staffordshire University.

Irish Totals

In Ireland, Adams of Dublin posted a hammer total of €6.6m (£5.2m) from their 20 auctions held in 2015. Lacking any six-figure paintings, the figure was down from €8.22m for 2014. Their top picture last year was a €58,000 (£45,670) Jack Butler Yeats but this was eclipsed by a Cartier necklace that fetched €210,000 (£165,355).

Managing director James O'Halloran says: "We didn't see too many major paintings last year but, for 2016, we've already got a few works in the pipeline.

"There are plenty of people looking to buy good things but they're circumspect as to what they spend their money on.

"While some traditional buyers have left the field

in recent years, we've noticed an increase in younger bidders, people in their late 30s and 40s, who are seeing good value in the market."

Adams' Irish art sale in March will include a mid-1940s Jack Yeats, Man Reading, pitched at €60,000-80,000, and a Paul Henry which has come from the family of former Taoiseach John Costello and is estimated at €70,000-100,000.

Meanwhile, fellow Dublin auctioneers Whyte's generated a hammer total of €3.42m (£2.69m) from their 2015 auctions. This was marginally up on the €3.08m recorded in 2014.

Their top lot of the year was a Sir William Orpen portrait of Gladys Cooper that took €175,000 in May.

"The top end feels more buoyant and we've seen some price increases," said Ian Whyte. "But it's difficult to get goods to sell and the capital gains tax of 33% in Ireland doesn't help."

Whyte's will offer two Paul Henrys in early 2016 and have a rare printed Proclamation of the Irish Republic at their History, Literature & Collectibles sale in March.

The top individual lot in Ireland for 2015 came at Dublin saleroom De Veres when Man in a train thinking by Jack Yeats took €220,000 (£173,230). Their total for Irish art sold over five auctions across the year was €2.5m (£1.97m) with an average selling rate of 75% of lots offered.

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