Early 20th century rocking horse by FH Ayres – £6500 at Chorley’s.

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Frederick Henry Ayres was a name at first well known for board games and high-quality sporting goods such as billiards, croquet and tennis, but then the London firm of FH Ayres became famous for rocking horses.

The company supplied them to major department stores in the capital such as Selfridges, Harrods and Army and Navy Stores.

On November 23-24, Gloucestershire saleroom Chorley’s (22.5/15/12.5/10% buyer’s premium) offered a private collection of rocking horses. This included an early 20th century example by FH Ayres which featured in the book A Kiss of Rocking Horses by David Kiss (and had been restored by him).

Guided at £700-900, the 3ft 11in high x 4ft 6in long (1.2 x 1.36m) long horse galloped off to £6500 hammer price.

Family business


G&J Lines rocking horse – £1300 at Rogers Jones.

G&J Lines produced rocking horses at around the same time as Ayres. The family business was run by George and Joseph Lines who worked together from around 1876 to make wooden toys.

In 1919 the company morphed into Lines Bros (run by three of Joseph’s sons: William Joseph Lines, Walter Lines and Arthur Edwin Lines). They came up with the brand name Tri-ang – as in three lines making a triangle.

At Rogers Jones (20% buyer’s premium) of Cardiff on December 7, a dapple grey example by G&J Lines, patented January 29, 1880, believed to be the ‘Sporty Boy’ model, had been reportedly owned by four generations of the same family since 1900.

Catalogued as having “restoration receipt c.1990 by The Rocking Horse Workshop, Shropshire, now requiring further restoration”, the 3ft 9in high x 4ft long (1.1 x 1.23m) horse sold for a within-estimate £1300 to an online bidder.