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Cherry picked for Napoleon’s girl

A gold and ivory ring that was given by the young Napoleon to his youthful love Caroline du Colombier sold for a double-estimate €29,000 (£25,220) at Osenat on March 26.

Bonaparte met Caroline when he was stationed in Valence as a young lieutenant and visited her family’s country estate.

The ring that he later gave her features a tiny carved ivory scene of a cherry harvest, recalling an earlier memorable visit to pick fruit together in an orchard one summer’s morning.

It remained in the family and will now be returning to the southern French city having been acquired by the Association Bonaparte à Valence.

Bertoia sales go back to basics

Toys saleroom Bertoia Auctions will launch liveonline and absentee bidding auctions under the Bertoia Basics banner.

The sales will be held between the firm’s usual sale programme. Each Bertoia Basics auction will be a oneday event in which registered bidders can take part. The New Jersey firm launched the first of these sales on April 15, featuring 396-lots of antique toys, iron doorstops and teddy bears.

In Numbers

€600- 800

The estimate for the most affordable Degas drawing in Christie’s Paris sale of works on paper from the family of the artist. It sold for €3500. More from the 55-lot sale in this week’s Art Market on page 30-32.

Positive numbers at the CADA fair

The sixth annual CADA fair, organised by the Cotswold Antique Dealers Association (CADA), concluded its fourday run on April 2 with a marked increase in sales and visitor numbers.

Organisers of the event at Blenheim Palace recorded 4350 visitors. Several exhibitors, including 19th and 20th century British art specialist Sarah Colegrave and British pottery dealer John Howard, also reported it was their best CADA fair to date in terms of sales.


The rare tinplate toy boat made by Märklin in the 1930s that sold for £11,500 at Wallis & Wallis.

Tinplate discovery

This simple but very rare tinplate toy boat made by Märklin in the 1930s, sold for £11,500 at Lewes auction house Wallis & Wallis on March 27.

It was unearthed as part of a huge collection of diecast and tinplate toys which had been gathering dust and much worse for nearly 50 years at a property in the West Country.

Specialist Glenn Butler said he could find only one other example of this modest steam-powered model and other experts he consulted confirmed the rarity. It sold to an American online buyer against a Swiss phone bidder.

Waugh and peace

An ear trumpet that once belonged to Evelyn Waugh – an instrument his son called “a disgusting object” – sold for £2200, more than double its low estimate, at Forum Auctions on March 30.

The plated copper ear trumpet is accompanied with letters of provenance from Auberon Waugh who wrote: “I have sent you a disgusting object… you may be able to identify as a telescopic ear trumpet as used by my Father in his later years… it may be of some whimsical interest to an obsessive collector.”

The trumpet was bought by a UK institution.

Qing kerching at Lawrences again


Daoguang famille rose vases – £144,000 at Lawrences.

A pair of Chinese two-handled famille rose baluster form vases catalogued as ‘Daoguang style and probably of the period’ was hammered down at £144,000 at Lawrences of Crewkerne on April 6.

The 11in (27cm) vases with iron-red six-character marks for 1820-50, and pierced hardwood and ivory-mounted stands, sold to a Hong Kong buyer way above the £1000-1500 estimate.

In January the Somerset auctioneer sold a Qing altar vase for £252,000.

A £1.6m Strad

A violin made in 1684 by Antonio Stradivari sold for a house-record £1.6m at London specialist Ingles & Hayday on March 28. It was bought by a Canadian philanthropist who will be loaning the violin to a musician.

Known as the ‘Ex-Croall, McEwen’ violin after two of its former owners, more recently it was the property of the defunct Düsseldorf bank Westdeutsche Landesbank.

It was last at auction in 1968 where it sold for £9500 at Sotheby’s.

Most read

The most clicked-on stories for week April 6-12 on antiquestradegazette.com

1 Former chairman of CSK berates Christie’s owner Pinault

2 Chinese sleepers awake at Crewkerne and Cambridge auctions

3 Exceptional Ming ‘fish pond’ bowl sells for more than £22m at Hong Kong auction

4 Cult classic VW campervan defies heavy rust to sell for £23,000

5 German toy boat steams to £11,500