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Sotheby’s and Christie’s withdrew this privilege some years ago.

This unnecessary free funding was originally offered in harsher times, when auction houses held multiple sales each month – leaving funds awaiting distribution to their sellers.

The ease of modern payment methods and the administration costs of holding post-dated cheques – not to mention the widening of customer bases for all auctioneers thanks to the internet – mean something of a death knell for this form of free finance.

Perhaps some dealers will now talk to their bank managers to make up the gap in their earnings due to the withdrawal of this source of free short-term cash.

A level playing field for all buyers would be a good result.

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