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The announcement may only occupy a couple of column inches in your publication but for those of us who have been involved in the art world for most of our careers it is a seismic change to the old order.

Over the years l have enjoyed many exchanges with the amiable and efficient custodians of the Christie’s archive – in some instances resulting in mutually advantageous outcomes.

It would be interesting to know the reasoning behind this decision.

When I first engaged with the auction scene some five decades ago the standard rate of vendor commission was 10% with no charges to the buyer.

We now have a regime whereby, via a number of charges to both seller and purchaser, the auction companies can end up with at least 50% of the hammer price.

I could wax apoplectic regarding the insurance premiums extracted on the hammer price of underestimated lots, but for now l will restrict my angst to the withdrawal of a client service which will be to the disadvantage of the vendor.

Mike Sanderson