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Help Navigating VAT for a UK-->US Watch Auction Purchase

[thanks to JS for ths space]

I made a recent watch purchase at a small UK auction house.
The seller is not the experienced with shipping abroad, in my estimation.
I live in the US, and happen to be in the UK this week- trying to figure out the best way to

- get the watch (in person preferred; or shipped)
- avoid/reduce VAT
- avoid/reduce import tax associated with shipping to the US.

any advice or recommendation?

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