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Illegal ivory export

Two men from south London were sentenced for selling antique ivory fans on eBay to buyers in China and the US. The items were illegally exported without the required permits.

Guy Buckle, 62, and Sik-Hung Or, 73, of Champion Hill, SE5, were each sentenced to 28 months imprisonment at Inner London Crown Court on September 23. They pleaded guilty to three counts of illegally exporting ivory goods in breach of the Customs & Excise Management Act 1979.

A police investigation established that 136 carved ivory fans – most of them 19th century Cantonese – had been exported outside the EU by the pair between January 2014 and November 2017 with the sales totalling £145,259.

Bonhams-ATG partnership

In a move to increase its digital presence and reach new bidders, Bonhams agreed a long-term partnership with Auction Technology Group, to webcast its auctions on thesaleroom.com and lot-tissimo.com.

Bonhams decided not to pass on the online buying premium so that its bidders pay the same online as they do in the room or on the phone.

The auction house’s chief marketing officer Marc Sands told ATG: “We will subsume the online fees because we believe it is more important to increase the amount of registrants, bidders and buyers coming to Bonhams. It is a small price to pay for new customers.”

Qing kerching

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Qing glassware vase sold for HK$180m (£18m) at Sotheby’s series in Hong Kong

The most important example of Qing glassware to appear at auction sold for HK$180m (£18m) on October 8 – the highlight of Sotheby’s series in Hong Kong.

The pouch-shaped vase, evoking a bottle wrapped in a yellow cloth pouch tied with a pink ribbon, was made in the workshops of the Forbidden City in Beijing according to an imperial order of 1738.

Nicolas Chow, chairman of Sotheby’s Asia, called it “the finest, largest and most complex piece of imperial glass to survive”. It had sold at auction twice in living memory, each time bringing exponentially more than before.

The UK regions were not be be outdone. Estimated at £400-600, a Chinese porcelain vase was bid to £1.3m at a Hampshire auction. Bidding for the 15in (39cm) high blue and red ‘lotus’ vase with a Yongzheng (1722-35) mark opened at £500,000 at Andrew Smith & Son of Itchen Stoke on September 10.

Free shipping at Fellows

In a move which will be watched closely by other auction houses, Fellows announced it would be offering free shipping worldwide to all its customers from November until the end of the year across watch, jewellery and designer sales. This built on an initiative earlier this year when free shipping was offered to US buyers.

New in town

For the first time in more than a decade a new antiques shop opened on Westbourne Grove, close to the famed antiques district of Portobello Road.

Gallery Rafael was set up by dealer Willy Stewart, who was among the dealers at Portobello Road’s Gallery 91, which had closed over the summer.

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This a Charles II oak joined stool c.1670, estimated at £2000-3000 but sold for £26,000, was one of the highlights at Duke’s (25% buyer’s premium) on-the-premises auction at Athelhampton House in Dorset on October 9 which was a near sell-out with a hammer price of close to £1.2m. Multi-estimate prices were achieved for many of the 500 lots of chiefly traditional art and antiques from the Tudor manor in Puddletown, near Dorchester.

Saleroom expands

Newbury’s Special Auction Services announced it will consolidate its three premises into a large warehouse close to Newbury Racecourse railway station. The monthly antiques sale on January 7 will be the first at the new site.