Unusually, the sale was held on the premises of the Suffolk family home. The 440 lots from Lord Iveagh, Edward Guinness, 4th Earl of Iveagh, on September 14 took a hammer total of £706,520 and hit £920,000 when including buyer’s premium.
Although many of the lots would not usually have warranted the treatment of a single-owner sale, their provenance merited the special attention.
Duleep Singh home
The collection was from the Guinness family’s homes: Farmleigh in Dublin and Elveden. The latter was the former home of Duleep Singh (1838-93), the last Maharajah of the Sikh Empire. He purchased the Elveden Hall estate in 1863 and had it remodelled with an interior to resemble a Mughal palace.
The house and estate was later sold to Edward Cecil Guinness (1847-1927) and has been with the family ever since.
Sworders said more than 1000 people visited across the five preview days and for the auction itself. The occasion also attracted 1192 absentee bids and in total there were 1367 registered bidders. The auction achieved a 95% sold rate.
Many of the online buyers hailed from Ireland and the US while most bidders were private individuals rather than trade.
The top lot of the day was a 1928 Rolls-Royce phantom, once owned by MP and car collector Alan Clark, which hammered at £40,000, plus 25% buyer’s premium (estimate £35,000-45,000).
It had been bought for Elveden in 2007 for use on “the estate as intended, as an extremely up-market ‘gun bus’, ferrying guests to their pegs in grand style”.
A late 19th century Ziegler Sultanabad pattern carpet with a label for Harvey Nichols from 1894 from the Farmleigh nursery dining room took £34,000 hammer against an estimate of £15,000-20,000, selling on the phone to a US private buyer.