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January 24th 2014 Fine Art Sale Report

24 January 2014


With still so much uncertainty in the industry, in terms of values and demand, we viewed our first Fine Art Sale of 2014 with some trepidation. However, any doubts we had were soon dispelled as the sale got underway.


The sale commenced with a fine selection of books, including a collection of three books of local interest, lot 15, History of Hertfordshire by John Edwin Cussans, 1870/1881, which sold for £350.


In the guns section, all entries well-exceeded estimates. Items of interest in this section included, Lot 18, a 19c percussion target pistol, £520, and Lot 19, a 19c percussion carbine, £490.



Above Left: Lot 18, 19c percussion target pistol, £520. Above Right: Lot 19, a 19c percussion carbine, £490


There were a number of items in the metalware section which met great demand, including: Lot 41, a fine bronze figure, Albert Carrier-Belleuse, 1824-1887, £1,550, and Lot 42, A Meiji period patinated bronze figure of a trumpeter, which sold well above estimate at £3,400 despite the trumpet mouth piece missing.  


Above Left, Lot 41, a bronze figure, Albert Carrier-Belleuse, 1824-1887, £1,550. Above Right: Lot 54, a mid 19c English double fuse bracket clock, £410.


There were some interesting items in the Clocks and Instruments section, including: Lot 54, a mid 19c English double fuse bracket clock, £410, and Lot 60, an early 20c forty eight key English system treble concertina by Wheatstone & Co, £800. All entries in this section sold well.


It was pleasing to see items in the Treen and Boxes section attracting attention, including lLt 69, a 19c ebonised boullework tantalus box of rectangular form, which realised £410. Most of the lower value items sold above estimate in this section.



All entries in the jewellery section sold, and demand for entries in the silver section continued to be firm. We had a nice collection of spoons which all sold well just above estimate. Lot 203, a George IV two handled tea tray, surprised us all by selling at £2,650, but giving us a clear reminder that quality items of interest are very much in demand.


Above: Lot 203, a George IV two handled tea tray, £2,650.


Following the trend of previous Fine Art sales, entries in the Oriental Ceramics section sold well, despite many of the entries being sold AF (As Found or All Faults - indicating damage). Examples in this category include, Lot 215, an 18c Kangxi period wide ewer missing its lid and a hairline to neck and spout, which realised £420, and Lot 232, a 19c Chinese hexagonal wig stand, which sold for £1,150 (a good example of the trade for later 19c Chinese entries).


Above Left: Lot 215, an 18c Kangxi period wide ewer, £420. Above Right: Lot 232, a 19c Chinese hexagonal wig stand, £1,150.


Trade continued in the European Ceramics section with Lot 255, a pair of Meissen square based miniature figures (sold as AF), selling for £410.



Above: Lot 255, a pair of Meissen square based miniature figures, £420.


In the paintings and prints section there was a noticeable improvement in prices. Lot 287, a series of five coloured engravings of London Thameside locations, realised £850, Lot 297, a watercolour in the manner of Edward Lear 1848, £980, and lot 299, a Hercules Brabazon Brabazon, 1821/1906 - Venice, £520. Lot 311, in the manner of JMW Turner - a Scottish loch, was a little disappointing at £500 but with no direct provenance posed some obvious doubt. Lot 332, E Aubry Hunt, 1884 - a church of Santa Maria Della Salute (oil), sold well above estimate at £1,300.


Above: Lot 332, E Aubry Hunt, 1884 - a church of Santa Maria Della Salute, £1,300.

It is fair to say that the trade in this area is definitely improving. A few months ago, many of these items would have been difficult to sell - let's hope the improvement continues.


In the Furniture section, we cleared a good 85% of entries and prices again reached well over estimate. Examples include:


Lot 361, a Maple & Co mahogany standing revolving bookstand, £750
Lot 375, an Edwardian Sheraton ladies bureau, £750
Lot 379, a William IV figured mahogany wine cellarette, £600
Lot 381, a 19c mahogany secretair military chest, £900


Above: Lot 396, an early 19c walnut cabinet, £1,100.

Oak and country continued to hold its own:

Lot 372, an 18c English oak three drawer dresser with rack, £1180
Lot 396, a late 18c/ early 19c walnut two drawer side cabinet on stand, £1,100
Lot 416, a late 17c/early 18c oak joined table, £1,320


To sum up - a better trade than expected throughout with clear signs that demand is improving. There seems to be more confidence in the trade and an increase in private buyers entering the market. If you are looking to buy at auction, now looks to be a good time.


With trade improving ,we are looking forward to our next Fine Art sale taking place on May 2nd. In the meantime, we have some great entries already in already for our next 20th Century Sale which will be held on March 8th. All entries and enquiries welcome.





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