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Mouseman smoker’s chair

Among the solid-selling furniture by Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson offered by Woolley & Wallis (22% buyer’s premium) at Salisbury on December 15 was the smoker’s chair above. It was one of two nearly identical 3ft 4in (1.03m) high chairs with leather slung backs and carved mouse signatures, and both left the £700-1000 estimates behind. This one made £3800 and the other £3400.

Pick of the pipes

The exhibition-quality late 19th century silver-collared meerschaum pipe, above, was part of a single collection sold at Reeman Dansie (20% buyer’s premium) in Colchester.

The collection, offered on December 12 in 261 (often multiple) lots, had been compiled over 50 years by John Adler, who died aged 82 last March.

A successful businessman who had been managing director of Oppenheimer & Co, Adler retained an affection for the one-time family firm of premium pipe makers and was a Master of The Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipe Makers and Tobacco Blenders (1982-83).

His collection totalled £68,000, “demonstrating a strong market in this niche collecting discipline”, said auctioneer Daniel Wright. “It was one of the finest pipe collections to come to auction in recent years and the pipe-collecting community was out in force.”

Top price was for a huge 7lb 8oz (3.4kg) chunk of raw Baltic amber – used by the Adler company for mouthpieces on its best products – which took a 10-times estimate £7600.

The amber mouthpiece to the 13¾in (35cm) long meerschaum pipe had been broken and repaired and, in line with most estimates for meerschaum items, was estimated at £250-400.

However, the quality of the elaborate carving of a mermaid helped it sell to a collector at £3200.

Dunhill classic lighter


Dunhill Aquarium table lighter – £3400 at Hansons.

The 1950s Dunhill Aquarium table lighter, above, with Perspex panels carved and painted by Ben Shillingford, is now a collectable “recognised as object d’art”, said auctioneer Adrian Rathbone.

This 3¾in (9.5cm) wide example with gilt metal fittings offered at Hansons (17.5% buyer’s premium) on December 18 sold at £3400 against an estimate of £1000-1500.

From the same vendor, and presumably bought as a set at the same time, came a matching 1950s Shillingford cigarette box.

With a cedar-lined interior, the 8¼in (21cm) wide box had a lid inset with a Perspex plaque showing fish among seaweed.

“I am familiar with the lighters but I had never seen a cigarette casket before,” said Rathbone, who estimated the box also at £1000-1500. He brought the hammer down at another £3400.