Over the decades, the collector had graduated from digging to trading. He had been a regular at Canterbury Auction Galleries (22.5% buyer’s premium) since it opened in 1991 and it was here where his descendants consigned the collection.
Offered in 12 single or multi-lots at the online sale on August 6-7, the 140 bottles were expected to bring £1450-1980.
Six collectors dominated the bidding and, spotting rarities among the multi-lots, took the total to a shade above £16,000.
Topping the collection was a 27-strong group by names such as R White, Camberwell and Ray Soda Water Manufacturer, Grey Coat Place, Westminster and including two Continental pieces. Mainly in pale green with two blue-tinted, the group was pitched at £80-120 and sold at £6600.
A very similar mixed group of 24 late 19th/early 20th century bottles with the same guide sold at £4300.
Eye for quality
The man who assembled the collection had an eye for quality beyond his favourite subject and one of his many other buys at Canterbury had been a 19th century white jade Chinese pendant.
Measuring 2 x 2¼in (5 x 5.5cm), it was pierced and carved with a bird and tree and quadrupled mid expectations when it sold to a US-based Chinese buyer at £4700.
Canadian clock fan
Overseas online buyers were a feature of the two-day sale. The best clock, a 19th century burr walnut, ebonised and gilt-brass-mounted bracket clock by Thomas Mercer, London, went on the lower £3500 estimate to a Canadian.
Illustrating the strong market in top-quality costume jewellery, a paste set of tremblant jewels, a necklace, brooch and earrings by Mitchel Mayer for Christian Dior went to an online German bidder at £1650, just over six times the low estimate.
Resolutely to British tastes was a 5in gauge scratch-built scale model of the steam loco Sweetpea that had been used as a children’s ride at Mote Park, Maidstone.
Although requiring a new boiler certificate, it will continue to give rides to raise cash for charity now it has been sold to an enthusiast with his own track who secured it at a mid-estimate £1850.