Louis Wain pottery cat – NZ$9250 (£4510) at Webb’s.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Wain designed a set of nine cats, a pig and a dog that were shown at an exhibition in 1914.

The collection, made first by the Max Emmanuel factory and later by Amphora, sold in only small numbers and famously a shipment carrying most of the early output to the US was hit by a torpedo from a German U-boat. Wain’s entire investment was lost.

Picked up for a NZ dollar

A large example of one of Wain’s pottery felines featured in Webb’s decorative arts sale in Auckland, New Zealand, back on March 15. The cat had been found in 1986 at a garage sale by the vendor when it cost just NZ$1.

At 11 x 9½in (28 x 24cm), this seated cat was one of the larger examples, glazed in green with details in yellow and red. It had a range of printed marks and is also impressed Futurist Cat and Louis Wain.

The piece generated considerable pre-sale interest from overseas but sold to a local collector at double the estimate for NZ$9250 (£4510).

Wain ceramic record

In June 2008, The Canterbury Auction Galleries realised a record price for a Louis Wain ceramic when another version of this large model in blue with Amphora factory marks sold at £8200.

£1 = NZ$2.05