Tributes have been paid to an antique dealer who has “left a big hole in the heart and lives” of everyone who knew him. 

Sam Greenman ran Finchley Fine Art Galleries in High Road up until his death last week at the age of 80.

He was a photographer in the Royal Air Force before he opened the shop 35 years ago, selling a variety of antiques including fine art, furniture and paintings.

His partner of 17 years, Melvita Shenton, told the Times Series: “He was excellent at selling. In fact it was said he could sell ice to Eskimos.

“Sam loved what he did, and enjoyed meeting and helping other people from all walks of life.

“All those who knew Sam very well will tell you he was a master craftsman, an artisan. He was capable of turning his hand to anything that was asked of him. No job was too small or too hard.”

Mr Greenman, who was known as Sammy to his friends, had three siblings including a twin sister called Claire who has lived in New Zealand for the past 40 years.

He was well known in the community and enjoyed meeting people and chatting to his customers.

Mrs Shenton added: “Sam’s passing will leave a big hole in the heart and lives of those who knew and loved him.

“I would go as far as to say the community has lost one of its most talented and skilled characters.”

Bernie Leigh, who became close to Mr Greenman six years ago when he helped fix clocks in his antique shop, also paid tribute.

Mr Leigh, 72, of Edgware said: “We became very good friends and I saw him almost on a daily basis. I was very fond of him.

“He loved his antiques and he knew a lot about paintings. Sotheby’s sometimes called him to ask for his advice.

“I would take him to the park and for coffee in his wheelchair. He was a very nice man to be around – he was liked by everybody.

“He had a very dry sense of humour, he was always joking and he was very intelligent.”

Mr Greenman died last Monday and was buried on Thursday.