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Written by Simon Thompson, Assistant Manager, Auctioneer & Valuer ASFAV

“The well-regarded Border Fine Arts studies are often seen and admired in 1818 Auctioneers’ Collectable Figurines and Studies auctions.

“Whether an agricultural diorama featuring vintage tractors and equipment in action or rare and interesting breeds of livestock, the studies always attract interest and invariably command impressive hammer prices. Border Fine Arts has become a treasured name, particularly among Northern England’s and Scotland’s farming communities, where its creations evoke a sense of connection and nostalgia.

“The company was founded in 1974 in Langholm by John Hammond. Initially, it was a modest start, with just three employees working at Middleholms, a local 18th-century farmhouse. The company’s first venture was into bronze and silver figurines, now seldom seen at auction.

“The company flourished, propelled by the increasing demand and the growing reputation for their trademark highly detailed and meticulously painted studies. The workforce expanded rapidly, with the notable addition in 1976 of Ray Ayres, a name that became synonymous with the brand’s exceptional craftsmanship.

“Middleholm quickly became redundant as a base, and new premises were found in the town, which were expanded to accommodate demand. In 1986, Border Fine Arts was honoured with a Scottish Business Achievement Award, recognising the company’s growth and commitment to making and marketing a quality and desirable product.

“In addition to the wildlife studies and farming scenes created for the Classic Collection, Border Fine Arts produced a broad range of collectable figurines and accessories for its Studio Collection. It continued to develop and manufacture many famous licensed collectable brands, such as Beatrix Potter.

“Unfortunately, after huge growth came the inevitable decline as fashions and tastes changed. This ultimately led to the closure of the Langholm factory in 2016.

“The limited edition studies, with their scarcity and reduced availability, continue to be the most sought-after, underscoring the enduring value and appeal of Border Fine Arts in the collectables market.”

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