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Hampstead Auctions

This George III provincial silver nutmeg grater offered in Hampstead Auctions’ (20% buyer’s premium) north London sale on February 28 appealed to two different niche markets. The tapering cylindrical ‘telescope’ form with a pull-off cap engraved with a coronet and initials is in itself unusual and dates to c.1765.

One section is designed to store the precious spice while another contains a mounted steel tubular rasp.

Moreover this example carries one of the many marks of Richard Richardson II, a member of the most important goldsmithing family in Chester in the 18th century. As Chester silver collectors and nutmeg grater collectors locked horns, bidding reached £3800 (estimate £500-800).

W&H Peacock

Also appealing to the collectables market was an early 19th century snuff box fashioned from silver and parcel gilt and the 4in (10cm) carapace of a tortoise. With marks for Nathaniel Mills, Birmingham 1827, it sold to an internet bidder for £2500 (estimate £200-300) at W&H Peacock (17.5% buyer’s premium) in Bedford on March 3.