Budget changes to business rates
From April, two years earlier than planned, the Government will base business rates increases on the CPI (consumer price index) rather than the RPI (retail price index). Rates will move to regular re-evaluations every three years.
Hammond also said government will re-look at the so-called ‘staircase tax’.
The tax, following a Supreme Court ruling, meant up to 30,000 small businesses faced large rates increases if they occupied different floors in the same building.
Both UK trade associations, BADA and LAPADA, cautiously welcomed the changes.
The VAT threshold for small businesses will be maintained at its current level of £85,000 for the next two years.
Dracula poster takes bigger bite
One of just two surviving movie posters for the 1931 horror classic Dracula set a record $525,800 (£398,300) at Heritage Auctions in Dallas on November 18.
It had been expected to make around $150,000.
The one-sheet Style A design depicts the menacing visage of actor Bela Lugosi. It was recently discovered in the San Diego, California, collection of a noted film historian who had owned it since the 1950s.
The most viewed stories for week November 16-22 on antiquestradegazette.com
1 Leonardo at auction: how did a £45 painting sell for $450m?
2 Stamp dealer Stanley Gibbons’ investment arm goes into administration
3 Rare Richard III gold coin found near Bosworth Field comes to auction
4 Five highlights from Tennants’ fine art auction – including a £135,000 Old Master sleeper and Lord Byron’s dog collar
5 Yellow diamond could be record-setter for Fellows
£65m liabilities for stamp investments
Stamp and coin dealership Stanley Gibbons Group’s investment subsidiary is entering administration.
The liabilities of SG Guernsey, which has £12.6m of stock, are expected to total £65m, largely relating to its controversial ‘buy-back’ investment product.
The scheme guaranteed customers at least 75% of the book value of their stamps at the end of a given period. Devised under former management, these buy-backs were not approved by the UK financial authorities and were stopped in July 2016.
The group stressed other parts of its business are ring-fenced from the buy-back guarantees of this division.
Stanley Gibbons said it will focus on its core retail/ auction businesses, and has hired Guy Croton, previously at Spink, as managing director of philately.
Napoleon gold leaf takes the laurels
A 4in (9cm) gold leaf that was once part of the laurel crown made for Napoleon’s coronation in 1804 sold in France for €500,000 (£443,193).
The laurel crown, created by goldsmith Martin Guillaume Biennais, was melted down in 1819. However, this was one of six leaves removed before the coronation as it was deemed too heavy. Biennais gave one each to his daughters.
This survivor, housed in a red morocco case signed Biennais au Singe Violet rue S Honoré No 511, had passed down through the family. Estimated at €100,000-150,000 at Osenat in Fontainebleau, it sold to an overseas buyer.
The whereabouts of the other five leaves are unknown.
Rybolovlev could take UK legal action
The ongoing legal dispute between Dmitry Rybolovlev, the vendor of the $450m Leonardo at Christie’s, and the Swiss businessman Yves Bouvier may be heading to the UK.
In the latest salvo in a feud which began in 2015, the Russian billionaire’s lawyers stated that they planned to sue Bouvier in a UK court, in addition to the previous cases lodged in four other jurisdictions.
Rybolovlev has also threatened to take action against Sotheby’s in the UK after alleging that the company was complicit in Bouvier overcharging him for a series of works.
Sotheby’s and Bouvier have strenuously denied the allegations and have attempted to have the case restricted to courts in Switzerland.
Bouvier acquired Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi in an $80m private sale brokered by Sotheby’s in 2013, before quickly ‘flipping’ it to Rybolovlev for $127.5m.
The first pick of Rockefeller stars
More than 2000 items from the estate of David and Peggy Rockefeller will be offered at Christie’s next spring.
The collection is expected to surpass the current record for a single-owner collection – the $443m Yves Saint Laurent sale dispersed in Paris in 2009.
David Rockefeller, who died in March, was the last surviving grandson of Standard Oil baron John D Rockefeller – the US’s first billionaire.
Among the highlights, Picasso’s 1905 Fillette à la corbeille fleurie will be estimated at around $70m. Also offered is a Sèvres porcelain dessert service made for Napoleon and a Monet waterlily painting.
The increase in UK retail sales volume in October 2017, compared with the previous month. According to the Office for National Statistics, sales in the second-hand goods sector, including auction houses and antiques dealers, provided the largest contribution to this growth.