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LONDON auctioneers will be enjoying their official Christmas hangover until next week. Head for the provinces for off- beat auctions, especially next Saturday, 8 January. Meanwhile, the Dorchester Hotel in Park Lane, Mayfair, offers a new antiques and fine art fair, Wednesday-Sunday, with 50 dealers, organised by Robert Bailey, well known for his fairs in historic country houses. Entry pounds 8, opening day pounds 10 (0277 362662).

Fairs were famous in 1993 for taking up the slack of the recession: many a dealer strapped for his shop rent was saved by selling in this convivial atmosphere, increasingly favoured by the public. The market absorbed the first fair organised by Bada, the British Antique Dealers Association, in Chelsea in May, and there will be an extra Olympia fair in February, besides the ones in June and November. But these,and the first International Arts and Antiques Fair at Harrods in November, underline the need for meticulous planning, even in a fair-friendly climate.

And some respected exhibitors are still sore about Harrods' house rules: enter by trade entrance ('or I'll tear up your card, sir') and no eating on the stands ('another bite and you'll have to leave').


Lydham, Shropshire: 600-lot bi-monthly sale of the fast and friendly, travelling P & J Auctions - furniture, electrical goods, farm implements, garden stocks, bric-a-brac, tools, building materials, DIY equipment, bedding, toys, next Saturday (10.30am). Refreshments. Arrive early to avoid standing (0743 244706).

Ravensthorpe, West Yorkshire: Ex-catalogue goods, furniture, electricals, bicycles, garden, DIY and police-recovered goods, next Saturday (10.30am). Dewsbury Auctions (0924 461210).

Aylsham, Norfolk: Auctioneer G A Key launches the first of its two-day sales; on Wednesday (10am) 750 lots of ceramics, glass, metalware and collectables; and on Thursday (10am) silver, jewellery, furniture. 8 Market Place (0263 733195).

Ipswich: 500-lot auction of liquidated stocks, including household furniture, Thursday (10am). Websters, 13 Great Colman Street (0473 257491).

Birmingham: 500-lot sale of paintings, watercolours and prints, Friday (11am). Biddle & Webb, Ladywood Middleway (021-455 8042).

West Wickham, Kent: 1,000 lots of computers and computer wares, next Saturday. Testing and viewing from 9am. Pickhurst Junior School, Pickhurst Lane. TCS (081-651 3639).

Lockwood, Yorkshire: On-site sale at Expressions, 2 Meltham Road, of kitchen and bathroom furniture, equipment and fittings, next Saturday (12 noon). Whitworths (0484 427467).

Derby: More than 1,000 lots of liquidated stock, police-recovered goods, furniture, kitchen units, prints, jewellery, collectables, household goods, tools, next Saturday (10.30am). Cattle Market, Chequers Road. Richardson & Linnell (0332 296369).

Campsea Ash, Suffolk: Furniture, ceramics, glass, silver, plate, estimates from

pounds 50, Wednesday (10am). Abbotts (0728 746323).


Today: Antiques and collectors at Bristol exhibition centre. More than 130 stands. Melba Fairs (0934 624854).

Today and tomorrow: Petworth Antiques, Seaford College, Duncton, West Sussex. Robert Bailey (0277 362662).

Monday: At the cricket ground, Edgbaston, up to 150 antique and collectors' stands. Melba Fairs (0934 624854).

Next Saturday-Sunday: North Cotswolds Antique Fair, Stanway House, near Winchcombe, Gloucestershire. Cooper Antiques Fairs (0249 661111).

Countrywide: Antiques Trade Gazette (071- 930 4957) and Government Auction News (0686 668851, hotline 0891 887700).

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