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Reporting the second quarter figures for the auction house last week, Smith said profits had reduced 14% to $76.9m due to a rise in operating expenses at the firm and a decline in its financial services arm.

But revenues for the second quarter of 2017 rose 5% to $314.9m as it reported an increase in high-value lots.

Smith said its performance was good considering “the substantially larger number of lower-margin, higher-priced fine art pieces sold in the major evening sales in New York and London” in the period.

The number of lots above $1m was up 5% and total average hammer price for these lots rose 17%.