Staffordshire pottery rabbits
A pair of Staffordshire pottery rabbits, c.1870, that were offered together as a single lot at Tennants on July 17. They sold for £3800.

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I would like to reiterate two key points (and acknowledge that there are, of course, auctioneers to whom these comments do not apply):

1. We continue to see Staffordshire figures offered at auction in lots that often contain 10 or more figures.

While I accept that, like many antique items, Staffordshire is not as popular as it used to be, when it was valuable the auction houses made plenty of money selling it. Furthermore, as we all know, these things go in cycles, and the likelihood is that Staffordshire will have its day again. I would like to see auction houses lot and describe them as they might a piece of Worcester, Spode or Caughley.

I speak with a degree of experience here and have the ear of my members. There are many fine collections of Staffordshire both here and in the US, but collectors are getting fed up with wanting one or two items in a lot and having to buy 10 or more pieces to acquire them.

Is this practice truly serving either vendor or purchaser? The cost of postage wherever you are is significant and, added to the buyer’s premium, often exceeds the hammer price. Two US collectors and one in the UK have recently told me that where this lotting practice continues, they will not now buy from UK auction houses.

2. My other gripe is finding pairs of figures in a single auction with one half of each pair sitting in differing lots. Usually this is obvious and is frankly just sloppy lotting.

Like so many I really enjoy attending and the thrill of an auction. All I ask, however, is that some auctioneers take a little more thought and care with their Staffordshire consignments.

Alan Sturrock