Features


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Sabres suggest the swashbuckling world of Hornblower

20 January 2020

Two spectacular early-19th century British presentation sabres have turned up in the salerooms recently, one in London and the other in Munich.

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Electroplated cups marked for Evan Jones of Sydney turn up in Hampshire

13 January 2020

This pair of 19th century electroplated cups, offered by Andrew Smith & Son (21% buyer’s premium) in Alresford on December 11, is stamped for the noted Sydney silversmith Evan Jones (1846-1917).

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Christie’s sells David Little's pre-civil war silver collection

13 January 2020

It took just one sale to disperse a collection of pre-civil war silver painstakingly amassed in just over a quarter of a century at the rate of one piece a year.

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The bell tolls for two prize silver porkers

13 January 2020

Edwardian silver table bells modelled as tortoises are not too hard to find but silver pigs are a much rarer beast. Accordingly, it was surprising to see two appear on two successive days at winter sales.

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Medieval drinking vessel takes £4400 at Mitchells

13 January 2020

Originally medieval drinking vessels, wassail bowls became highly decorative status symbols by the 19th century as this large silver-mounted walnut example shows.

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Hastings silver leaves its native Norfolk

13 January 2020

The sale at Cheffins (22.5% buyer’s premium) in Cambridge on December 12 included a cache of Victorian and earlier silver from the collection of Delaval Astley, 23rd Baron Hastings (b.1960).

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Dresser’s genius brings happy returns

13 January 2020

The Design sale at Christie’s New York (25/20% buyer’s premium) on December 13 included the return to the auction room of one of the famous series of electroplated teapots made by James Dixon & Sons, Sheffield, c.1879, to designs by Christopher Dresser.

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Remarkable mustard pots from Shennan collection turn heads at Evesham sale

13 January 2020

The sale at Kingham & Orme (20% buyer’s premium) in Evesham on December 6-7 included the second instalment of the remarkable Shennan collection of silver mustard pots, this time featuring examples made in the reigns of George IV to Victoria (1821-1901).

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Novelty silver pin cushions take flight

13 January 2020

Pin cushions have their own niche market in the novelty silver field. Nineteen Edwardian examples were offered at a sale at Woolley & Wallis (25% buyer’s premium) in Salisbury last year.

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The tale of the Warwick vase told in many sizes

13 January 2020

Although turned down at the time by the British Museum, a 2nd century vase with Bacchic ornament found by Gavin Hamilton near Hadrian’s villa in Tivoli c.1771 proved a sensation with 18th century connoisseurs.

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Norwegian silver brudekrone pays a visit to Canterbury

13 January 2020

An atypical visitor to a recent sale at Canterbury Auction Galleries (24% buyer’s premium) was a Norwegian silver gilt brudekrone dating from the late 18th or early 19th century.

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Youghal basting spoon draws interest in Salisbury

13 January 2020

Alongside pieces made in Kinsale, Galway and Waterford, silver from the small County Cork town of Youghal is among the scarcest of all Irish provincial silver. Only a handful of pieces survive that carry the punning town mark of a yawl.

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Cups from the Spetchley Park kunstkammer

13 January 2020

Sotheby’s (25% buyer’s premium) sale of art and antiques from the Regency manor house Spetchley Park in Wychavon, Worcestershire, held in London on December 11, included a range of ‘kunstkammer’ objects amassed by the Berkeley family in the 19th century.

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Pugin’s christening gift draws strong interest

13 January 2020

This small Gothic Revival beaker was made by ecclesiastical metal manufacturer John Hardman (Birmingham, 1848) at the height of the first partnership with AWN Pugin.

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Candlesticks light up Bruges sale

13 January 2020

This impressive and rare pair of silver table candlesticks with cluster columns, square bases and drip cups had no visible hallmarks but is probably Dutch and late 17th century in date.

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Silver coffee pots: a selection of hammer highlights

13 January 2020

The typical Georgian silver coffee pot is one of the great bargains of 21st century antiques collecting.

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Performing elephant silver novelty sells well above predictions

13 January 2020

Victorian silver novelties do not come much better than this claret jug, formed as a 9in (23cm) tall kneeling elephant by James Barclay Hennell, London 1881. The hinged head (currently lacking tusks) forms the cover.

Major anniversaries in 2020

23 December 2019

Dealers, fair organisers and auction houses often hold events that coincide with important anniversaries.

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2020 vision

23 December 2019

For better or worse, Brexit is finally set to proceed and will be a major factor in the year ahead – as will timed auctions, anti-money laundering rules, the looming prospect of a near-total ivory trade ban, antiquities challenges and a new buying ethos based on cultural sensitivities, changes at major fairs and a growing ‘green’ movement.

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Hey big lender - options for collectors

23 December 2019

Building your collection can involve a lot of thought along with the time and money involved, but it is also worth spending a while thinking about how to share it.

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