The life of an Auctioneer is undeniably an unusual one and very different from that of a shopkeeper or other people in commerce. Life is all about targets and deadlines and such is the day-to-day and week-by-week calendar of the auction room.
Our Spring Antiques and Fine Art sale this March had a very slow build-up and had begun to worry us as we got to a month or so away from the catalogue deadline. However, as often happens as I am often reminded, we received a flood of new entries and some good house calls in the latter stages of catalogue preparation.
A collection of Estate Jewellery that had been with us for over six months were released for sale, a house call yielded some interesting Middle Eastern silver, and the furniture section, which is very selective these days, filled up nicely from a couple of good Pembrokeshire house calls.
The Sale started with the furniture and this was close to a sell-out with prices being an improvement on those of late, the odd failures being mopped up in the online auction following. Top prices included a Liberty & Co. ‘Thebes’ stool at £1,700 (plus BP), an Edwardian Bonheur du Jour at £780 (plus BP) and a rustic French Farmhouse Table sold after sale at £700 (plus BP). A very pretty Pietra Dura wine table made £1,300 (plus BP), twice its estimate.
The picture section was not the strongest but a David Hockney biro sketch, overlooked by another auction house clearing a house in Aberystwyth, made £850 (plus BP) and a pair of Alfred Parkman Watercolours of Swansea came home at £480 (plus BP) and a Charles Wyatt Warren of Snowdonia made £460 (plus BP), despite its condition problems. A local interest collection of unframed watercolours of Tenby by Allan Stepney-Gulston of Derwydd Llandeilo realised £1,900 (plus BP) to a local buyer.
Ceramics was a small section and Chinese items led the day with £680 (plus BP) being paid for a large Celadon Vase.
A vintage local interest sign for ‘Pearl Whiskeys, Llanelly’ made £780 (plus BP).
An unusual articulated Lay artists mannequin, incomplete, and left in someone’s garage by previous owners exceeded its £500 estimate to realise £4,400 (plus BP) despite its condition.
Welsh blankets were hot on the day, averaging £200-£250 (plus BP) but a collection of Crossbows were a struggle having been bought at the top of the market some years ago and mostly failing to achieve similar expectations. Weapons faired better with a Japanese Sword, with condition issues, made £2,500 (plus BP). A flask butt air cane made £900 (plus BP).
Stamps were a complete sell-out and silver from around the world was again near sell-out, with just one lot failing.
Jewellery was strong as ever led by a 2ct diamond solitaire ring at £6,000 (plus BP), again with very few disappointments in this section. Watches sold out with a Rolex Oyster realising £3,000 (plus BP) in an after-sale on the day, the top seller.
A large collection of gold sovereigns averaged £340 each (plus BP) in various groups and twenty sovereigns on a chain made £7,500 (plus BP). As ever gold is strong when the World is at war.
Towards the end of the sale, a large Half Block Ship Model blew its estimate out of the water to realise £4,700 (plus BP). Rugs and Carpets closed the day with a small section of Antiquarian books, all selling well.
After a worrying lead in the sale gathered momentum and smashed through its expectations to take over £200,000 on the day.
A very satisfactory and exhausting first Fine Sale for the year. Our Fortnightly antiques and General Collectors sales are very heavily stocked and continue like clockwork. A huge collection of Toys, Vehicles and Tedy Bears will feature over the next few months to cheer us all up!
The Magic Roundabout goes on!