The vast collection of carriages and related equipment which Caroline Dale-Leech has amassed over a lifetime was sold by veteran specialist saleroom Thimbleby & Shorland (9% buyer’s premium inc VAT). The site was Dale-Leech’s Derbyshire home and equine museum at Red House Stables, Darley Dale.
UK hopefuls were in action but for much of the bidding, said the auctioneers, “it was a threeway tussle among buyers from abroad”.
Many affordable lots were available: a set of pit pony harness at £160; pairs of coach lamps at around £200; vintage blacksmith’s bellows £140; a coachman’s apron at £150 and so forth.
The big money, of course, was for the horsedrawn vehicles, including a c.1900 five glass landau at £4700 and c.1900 phaeton by Mulliner of Birmingham – known as the Siamese Phaeton for its twin seat arrangement – at £10,000. Less glamorously, a two-wheel bread van with a painted sign reading A Cowley, Baker, Stony Stratford Est. 1874, which was delivering bread to Buckinghamshire villages until 1968, sold for £3850 to a Continental buyer.
The prize was a magnificent travelling chariot. It was made c.1790 by Coates & Blizard of Park Lane, London, for a member of the Wright family of Eyam Hall, Derbyshire, who was an equerry at Windsor Castle and prepared to pay £250 (about £37,000 today) for a status-symbol vehicle.
A star of the Red House Stables museum, it had remained in the family’s ownership since new and had more than kept its value over the centuries, repaying the cost of its maintenance, when it sold to a Norwegian bidder at £60,000.