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Team at fine art auction house take control of firm’s future after sale

Guy Gowing, managing partner at Arnolds Keys. Picture: ARNOLD KEYS

Guy Gowing, managing partner at Arnolds Keys. Picture: ARNOLD KEYS

Archant

North Norfolk auction house Keys Fine Art Auctioneers has been sold to the team which runs it.

Kevin Lines, fine art director of Keys Fine Art Auctioneers. Picture: ANDY NEWMAN.Kevin Lines, fine art director of Keys Fine Art Auctioneers. Picture: ANDY NEWMAN.

Former owner Arnolds Keys said the move was part of efforts to focus on its core property services business.

The Aylsham-based auctioneers is now in the hands of a management team led by its fine art director Kevin Lines, alongside antiques specialist David Broom and other managers.

The sale follows the retirement of two of Norwich-based Arnolds Keys’s partners.

Mr Lines said he was buoyant about the future of the auction house, which would continue to be based at its five-acre sales rooms off Palmer’s Lane, Aylsham.

Keys Fine Art Auctioneers off Palmer's Lane, Aylsham. Picture: GOOGLE STREETVIEWKeys Fine Art Auctioneers off Palmer's Lane, Aylsham. Picture: GOOGLE STREETVIEW

He said: “We are excited to take the helm at a successful time for Keys with the continuing development of our flagship fine sales focusing on high value antiques as well as our traditional business.”

Guy Gowing, Arnolds Keys managing partner, said it was the right time for the auction house to take control of its own destiny.

He said: “With significant investment and the emergence of the new management team, Keys Fine Art Auctioneers is in good shape for the future.

“At the same time our property business is going from strength to strength, and we wanted to concentrate our efforts on that, which is our core business. So the time was right for Keys’ management to take that business forward.”

The auction house celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2013, having been founded in 1953 by Geoffrey Key, who began by selling poultry.

Although most of the house’s poultry sales ended in 2005, one is still held every Christmas.

Kevin Lines’s father, John Lines, joined the firm in 1955 and added a weekly general furniture sale and periodic antique sales during the 1960s.

In November 2017 the firm announced plans to expand its site for the second time in three years, after the most successful 12 months in its history.

Its first auction of the New Year will be a ‘country sale’ of furniture, books, garden produce and other items on January 7, followed by a 20th century design and modern art sale on January 12.

-Do you have a business story? Contact business editor Richard Porritt at richard.porritt@archant.co.uk

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