However, I feel I must write to perhaps elaborate on his good words.
One should remember that BADA was founded in 1918, when the trade was a very different ‘animal’.
There was a collection of good, or shall we say ‘grand’, dealers who wanted to promote their trade, which was successfully done by that association.
Now with 350 members and some decades later, BADA has understood that it needs to diversify and has included more general dealers. These days we see dealers from overseas and even Modern art included! Imagine what the original founders would have thought.
The BADA fair, established over 20 years ago, has been a wonderful trumpet promoting the association’s members.
LAPADA was founded in 1974, to represent all members of the trade. Now with 550 members, LAPADA has been very active promoting ‘the cause’ for these dealers.
Many BADA dealers have become LAPADA members as well, and not only do they qualify to exhibit at its fair but can also take advantage of its innovative ideas. The LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair, established in 1991, has now settled successfully in Berkeley Square and become one of the top three London fairs.
Both associations work tirelessly on our behalf on issues such as VAT, Artist’s Resale Right, import duties, CITES, antique ivory and more.
So, we can see a pattern here.
We have two associations working for one industry. I wonder if there are any instances in other sectors of this extraordinary and impractical situation.
Many dealers have been crying out for amalgamation and it may be that it is now time to put this idea to the people who matter, that is the trade itself and not just the board members of each association.
Please note I am not suggesting that either association is better than the other, but the need for two is now totally outdated.
I do understand that there would be many issues to ‘iron out’ before any merger could be achieved but I passionately believe we should get our house in order.
Patrick Sandberg Antiques, London
Editor’s comment: ATG will host a round table debate on the future of the trade during the BADA 2017 fair on March 17.