Spending: Auctions

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VALENTINES are a fickle market. Some years there are more than others, but until now never enough to fill a sale on their own. Christie's South Kensington, which last year put its Valentine cards in a fan sale, and in a book sale the year before, has probably the world's first dedicated Valentine sale on Tuesday (10am), thanks to a consignment of 1,000 cards from one of America's first Valentine collectors, the late Lillian Newton Stone. Estimates per lot (mostly multiples), pounds 30- pounds 150. Phillips Bayswater also has a big collection in its Tuesday (12 noon) sale: 500 accumulated over 27 years by an advertising copywriter.

Christie's is trundling into the antiques roadshow tradition, offering two weeks of day-long valuations ( pounds 1 each, in aid of the National Art Collections Fund), free lectures and restoration demonstrations. Tuesday: Decorative arts - all-day furniture restoration and Paul Atterbury on Victorian art and design (1pm, 6pm). Wednesday: Oriental artworks - Kiyko Sawada, UK leader of the Ikenobo school of Japanese flower arranging, demonstrates (12 noon-2pm) and Christie's Colin Sheaf on Chinese art for the European interior (2.30pm, 6.30pm). Thursday: All-day picture cleaning, frame restoration, and Jonathan Horwich, Christie's modern Brit specialist, on assessing pictures (1pm, 6.30pm).

Look for off-season picture bargains in Modern Brits at Christie's South Kensington, Thursday (10.30am) and 19th-century Continental at Christie's Friday (11am). Classic cars at Brooks' auction at Olympia on Tuesday (6pm) include a rare 1959 variant of the Messerschmitt 'bubble' car, expected to fetch more than pounds 7,000. Toys: 361-lot sale at Sotheby's, strong on tinplate, Wednesday (1pm) and at Christie's South Kensington, Thursday (2pm).

COUNTRYWIDE

Glasgow: Arms and furniture Wednesday (11am), pictures Thursday (2pm). Christie's, 164 Bath Street (041 332 8134).

Chester: Remaining contents of Downswood, Abbots Park, Wednesday (11am), in the saleroom. Phillips (0244 313936).

Welshpool: Contents of a wicker furniture shop, in a general sale at the town hall, Friday (10am). Harry Ray (0938 552555).

Coventry: Computers, faxes, copiers, software, telephones, televisions, hi-fis, videos, at 22 Central City Industrial Estate, Red Lane, Friday (12 noon). Richard Ellis (0203 555180).

Bourne: Wool for hand and machine, next Saturday (noon). Richardsons, Bourne Auction Rooms (0778 422686).

Folkestone: Collection of table lamps and lights, furniture, artworks, Thursday (11am). Phillips, Bayle Parade (0303 245555).

FAIRS

Annual Shropshire Antiques Fair, Lion Hotel, Shrewsbury, Tuesday-Thursday. Antiques in Britain Fairs (0273 423355).

London Antique Dealers Fair, Cafe Royal, Regent Street, Tuesday-Sunday. Jane Sumner (0672 870727).

Giant Antique Fair, Bingley Hall, County Showground, Stafford, Friday- Sunday. Bowman Fairs (0532 843333).

City of Plymouth Biannual Antiques Fair, The Pavilions, next Saturday-Sunday (0934 624854).

Rutland Antiques Fair, Uppingham School, next Saturday-Sunday. Cooper Antiques Fairs (0672 515558).

Antiques Trade Gazette (071-930 4957), Government Auction News (071-734 8291/4, hotline 0891 887700).

Look out for . . .

Birmingham: Pawnbrokers' unredeemed pledges, Thursday (10.30am). Fellows & Sons, Augusta Street, Hockley (021-212 2131).

Manchester: More unredeemed pledges, Thursday (11am), including low-reserve jewellery, collectables. Artingstall and Hind, 39 Cobden Street, Pendleton (061- 736 5682).

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