- Rare book trader Scholium Group swung to an annual loss due to outlays associated with the establishment of a stamp auction house.

Pre-tax losses for the six months through September amounted to £56k, compared to a profit of £61k on-year, and included a £104k loss in the start-up Mayfair Philatelics.

Revenue edged back 0.8% to £3.3m, but the fall was mostly due to a large gain being posted the previous year from the part sale of a Russian book collection.

Excluding those sales proceeds, revenue rose 20%, while gross profit grew 12% to £1.2m.

'It has been pleasing that the group's main trading subsidiary, Shapero Rare Books, and Scholium Trading continue to trade profitably in the first half,' chairman Jasper Allen said.

'Our new stamp venture, Mayfair Philatelics, incurred a loss as expected, but will improve its revenues in the second half due to it holding three of its four auctions a year in Scholium's second six months.'

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