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The venerable collectables dealership, parent company of Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions, Mallett and Baldwin’s, posted pre-tax loss of £6.2m for the six months to the end of September 2016, down from a £1.1m profit in the same period a year ago.

Revenue also fell to £20.2m in the period, down from £29.4m in the same period a year ago.

But chairman Harry Wilson said it was close to a “turning point” and its cost-cutting measures were “starting to make an impact… suggesting better days ahead”.

The group had made savings of £10m on annual operating costs and reduced its £24m debt pile to £16.5m by the end of September.

Coins and medals specialist Baldwin’s half-year sales halved to £2.63m and made a profit of £0.6m, down from £1.6m for the same period a year ago.

The interiors business, comprising dealers Mallett and auctioneers Dreweatts & Bloomsbury, reported sales down by nearly two-thirds to £3.4m and it recorded a loss of £2.05m for the half-year period.

Dreweatts stays solid

Auction commissions from Dreweatts & Bloomsbury in the six months between April and September were £2.4m, in line with those of the previous year.

However, significantly lower retail sales from Mallett accounted for the reduction in sales.

The results also contained an update on the court case involving former Mallett director and head of its New York branch, Henry Neville.

After pleading guilty to all criminal charges relating to an embezzlement case brought by US authorities, he awaits sentencing in March.

Former client Robert A Olins was sentenced to two years in prison in December. He was ordered to forfeit his interest in certain antiques and pay $657,000 in compensation.