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Ines Bellin, fair director at the book-focused Ink Fair London

Ines Bellin

Ines Bellin

“Any good fair is more than just a sales platform – it is a place where we represent the commercial existence of art, antiques and books to the public.

“What begins with the passion for a single book might turn into a love for collecting and this is where we can act as guides.

“If we dismiss auction houses we exclude an important part of the market for any serious collector.

“What are we saying to collectors when we separate ourselves from auction houses?

“Our focus should be to make our world as accessible and transparent as possible and this can only be achieved by an equal representation of all market forms on all platforms, including fairs.”


Caroline Penman, owner of Penman Antiques Fairs, which organises a number of events including last week’s The Chelsea Antiques Fair.

Caroline Penman

Caroline Penman

“If an auction house becomes involved with a fair, the organisers are in effect including a major competitor to their bread-winners, the exhibitors.

“They risk dealers’ carefully nurtured customers defecting to the auction where there is no personal interaction.

“An auction house can only suggest a likely price (and hopefully mention the attendant commission and premium), whereas dealers in a fair can offer an actual price without fuss.

“Quality antiques fairs are for those who enjoy the hunt, where interaction with knowledgeable owners of items is pretty well guaranteed, in pleasant surroundings.

“We are chalk and cheese and, as such, should not intermingle.

“Let the collectors, bargain-hunters and those who want to enjoy buying choose between us – or attend both genres, knowing what they are letting themselves in for!”