What sets FA apart from the 'exclusively online' auction market, is that their auctions will be a variety of traditional sales and fixed price online events, dependant on the nature of the sale. Each lot on offer in an online auction will be available for physical viewing and inspection.

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Established by Stephan Ludwig, formerly owner and CEO of Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions, Forum Auctions commences trading in May from premises in London, New York, Milan and Rome.

"I am naturally excited to be launching this new business. We feel that the auction market is not yet ready to fully separate the traditionally terrestrial experience from exclusively online events and there exists a strong rationale for establishing a 'best in class' e-commerce umbrella from which to hang carefully selected specialist departments,'' says Ludwig.

"We operate in a ‘trust’ industry that relies heavily on the reputation and experience of product specialists and client service, particularly for collectors.  I am delighted by the confidence that our staff, who have all left well-established jobs to join me in this exciting new venture, are placing in the business.''

The books and manuscripts department, to be lead by Rupert Powell who will join FA in July this year, already comprises a strong team of specialists including Dido Arthur, Justin Philips and Max Hasler.

"The FA business model embodies my view on the future of our market.  I am thrilled to be joining Stephan and his team of like-minded specialists. Client service is the key differentiator in our industry and our new venture holds this ethos ahead of all else.  It is my objective to make FA the go-to auction destination for the discerning book collector, both in Europe and the USA," says Powell.

Alongside Ludwig, all of FA's staff and renowned international book dealer Filippo Rotundo are founding shareholders in the new business. Rotundo's Philobiblon Galleries will host FA in New York, Milan and Rome where FA’s auction calendar kicks off with contemporary art and antiquarian book sales on June 8th and 22nd.

Alexander Hayter joins FA as International Head of Contemporary Art and will build out his department over the coming weeks.

FA's inaugural London sales will take place during the week of 11th July. The two day sale will feature private collections across several categories. FA's autumn calendar highlights include the £1mm private collection of a Continental collector, as well as the firm's inaugural London sale of Important Modern & Contemporary Prints.

Whilst initially focused on books, manuscripts, prints and photographs, FA is planning to expand into a number of other 'online friendly' auction departments such as wine, watches, jewellery and numismatics.

Ludwig has great confidence in the intuitive online platform.

"FA's technology-led trading platform is being built by an external team of programmers and systems designers who have a strong and established track record of producing e-commerce solutions. We are not reinventing the wheel - our objective is to deliver an intuitive and rewarding 'shopper' experience, and to do this we are working with people who are simply the best in their field when it comes to technology, collecting disciplines and client service."