31/03/2014 News Stories & Press Release, Furniture & Rugs , Old Master, 18th & 19th Century Pictures, Silver
Two notable single owner collections contributed to Roseberys’ second £1 million plus auction total last week. A private collection of freemasonry memorabilia and a stunning silver collection meant the auction house had to extend its usual two-day to a three-day auction and produce three catalogues. The sale also included jewellery, paintings, decorative arts and modern design, furniture and rugs.
Roseberys’ managing director Ian Cadzow said, “Following the success of last autumn’s single owner collection of Dali works and prior to that several fashion collections, we were very pleased to offer two more this month. We are rapidly developing a niche in this area and are currently negotiating for more such sales.
“We are delighted with the result of this auction. The sale total was indicative of the quality of the lots across the board, rather than having been boosted by one or two exceptional results. In addition, our highly successful marketing campaign in the lead up to the auction helped ensure that lots achieved their maximum potential.”
On Day One of the auction (18 March), the Masonic Collection of the Late Albert Edward Collins Nice racked up an impressive 98% sold rate. Private collectors of freemasonry memorabilia, institutions and lodges from all over the UK and Continental Europe converged on the saleroom to battle it out for the extraordinary collection encompassing masonic jewels, medals, ceramics, glass, books and ephemera. The saleroom was full and there were more than 200 people bidding online and on the telephone, many from Russia and the United States.
The owner of the collection, Albert Nice, was a chemist and dental surgeon and a member of various lodges including the Quatuour Coronati lodge dedicated to masonic research, fitting for a devoted collector of masonic literature, jewels, ceramics and associated works of art. He died in 1969 and the lots were kept locked away for almost 50 years meaning they were fresh to the market.
Masonic jewels proved to be the most popular lots with a 100% sold rate. The most expensive (pictured below) sold for a hammer price of £3,000. It was of an unusually large size, set with multi-colour paste, making it one of the most attractive in the auction. It also had Scottish interest due to the inscription which made it rare as well as aesthetically pleasing.
The auction also included an impressive 35 jewels by the pre-eminent 18th century designer and maker, Thomas Harper. These were amongst the most sought after items with bidders keen to add to their collections and protect the value of jewels they already owned. All made more than twice their high estimate and some very much more than that.
The most popular Thomas Harper jewel was Lot 75 (pictured below) which sold for a hammer price of £1,500.
The book section of the auction was also highly competitive with several museums from around the world bidding. The highest hammer price was £5,500 for Lot 496, a Scottish Rite Album embellished with unique watercolour sketches of the regalia of the 33 degrees of the Scottish Rite which made it highly desirable (pictured below).
A second single owner collection amassed by a private individual between the 1930s and the 1950s formed the core of the fine and rare silver section on Day Two of the auction, held on Wednesday 19 March. The range of lots in this section was notable, including not one but five tea caddies dating from the 1700s, two Elizabethan church chalices and well as a George I example and a quantity of rare Irish silver. Other pieces dated from the reigns of Charles II and James I.
This section of the auction was greatly anticipated both by private collectors and the trade who seemed agreed that this was the best sale of silver they had seen in the last five years.
The highest hammer price in this section of the auction was £9,500 for an early 19th century silver gilt, malachite and micro mosaic table snuff box (pictured below). Micro mosaics are always popular but this one had exceptional detail and was of a large size making it even more desirable. It was hotly contested before selling to a buyer in Switzerland.
The lot in this section with the earliest date was an Elizabeth I silver church chalice made in Norwich c.1565-1570 (pictured below). It achieved a hammer price of £8.000. It was engraved ‘FOR THE TOVNE OF ANTYNGAM’ which is today known as Antingham, a village 2.5 miles north west of North Walsham, Norfolk. This was probably removed from St Margaret’s church which was demolished in the 1880s. It was snapped up by an East Anglian-based UK private collector.
One surprise result was for a pair of George III silver mugs made in Chester c. 1772 by Richard Richardson II (pictured below). They were estimated at £600-£800 but the hammer came down at £5,800 thanks to the combination of a good maker, very good condition and the rarity of a matching pair. It was bought by trade buyers who had come from Australia especially for the auction.
In the paintings section, works by modern and contemporary British artists once again did well. Roseberys has established something of a reputation for achieving good prices for such works.
The single highest selling lot in the whole three day sale was a large oil painting by James Bateman RA depicting the Elephant and Castle horse auction. This achieved a hammer price of £17,000. The artist’s forte was agricultural scenes – an example hangs in Tate Britain. These very rarely come onto the market and this was the first of this size and subject matter to appear for around ten years. In a small irony, the Elephant and Castle, is only five miles from Roseberys’ auction room.
Other scenes of London by modern British artists also achieved notable results. This picture of Ladbroke Square by Carel Weight, a war artist, achieved a hammer price of £4,600 against an estimate of £2,000-£3,000.
A further London scene, this time of the River Thames looking towards Wandsworth by Ken Howard was sold for £1,300.
The hammer came down at £15,000 for a lovely commode in the manner of Pierre Langlois. It had condition issues and less flamboyant mounts than some but was an honest piece of English furniture with a very attractive form and of a useful small size. It was bought by a trade buyer based in London. Roseberys recently sold a much larger version for £32,000.
The auction total was £1,106,082 including Buyers’ Premium of 20%. In addition to bidding in the saleroom itself, Roseberys had more than 1,000 bidders registered across two online bidding platforms.
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