One of the UK's principal Fine Art Auctioneers, with General Sales,
Fine Art Sales, Collectors Sales and Sporting Sales
The first day of Lawrences' 1100-lot Collectors' sale drew a healthy crowd to the Crewkerne salerooms which, in addition to keen activity on the telephones, live internet bidding and a slew of commission bids, ensured a remarkably high take-up with just a few unsold lots.
Variety was in awesome supply within the selection of militaria, coins and medals on offer. Amongst the first few lots, £4900 was paid for a Baker rifle with flintlock action. This 9lb gun was also known as an Infantry Rifle and was used throughout the Napoleonic Wars. A blunderbuss with a spring bayonet made £2390; a Brown Bess musket took £1670; a Deane and Adams revolver with a 6" octagonal barrel made £1250; a double-barrelled pistol by London gunsmith Reddell made £3340; and a superb cased pair of flintlock pistols by Tatham and Egg dated from about 1810 and exceeded their £3000-5000 to lead the section of firearms at £9560 (see illustration).
Appealing to a broadly similar market, medals attracted some determined bidding and highlights included £2860 for a Waterloo medal awarded to William Peet of 1st Regt. Dragoon Guards; another to Edward Price of 1st Regt. Royal Dragoon Guards made £4660; a Military Cross group to 2nd Lt E. Burnett who served in the Tank Corps in the Great War made £2980; an illustrious DSO and Military Cross group to Major I. Brady of the Northumberland Fusiliers was contested to £4060; and a Queens South Africa medal with seven bars awarded to Lt P. Jones acknowledged his conspicuous gallantry and the lot included his letters and diary (£4420). Top honours in this popular selection went to a group of medals awarded to H. P. B. Ross who served under Nelson on HMS Agamemnon and who twice received The Thanks of Parliament and the Sword of Honour for his services at Trafalgar. This group, resonant with famous names from England's great naval history, exceeded its £4000-5000 estimate to take £10,390.
From a near sell-out of collectable coins, a Queen Anne gold guinea from 1713 was bought for £1610 whilst a far earlier collection of 25 assorted coins dug up at Karnak in Egypt in c.1930 included examples dating back to the reign of Emperor Theodosius (379-395AD) and the lot made £620.
One of the surprise successes was the rapturous enthusiasm shown by collectors for a vast collection of police badges and helmet plates from constabularies as varied as Bedfordshire and Barbados, Malaya and the Metropolitan, Grenada and Glasgow, Barnsley and Burma, Nottinghamshire and Nigeria. The collection was divided into 114 lots and realised over £41,000 with all the proceeds going to charity.
The cup, 21cm high with a 13cm diameter bowl, was carved from warm golden amber and decorated with panels of floral scrolls, alternating with male and female portraits above swags of fruit. The stem was carved as a figure of a kneeling man and the foot and the rim were mounted with silvergilt.
Such cups are very scarce and most were made in Konigsberg in the mid-late 17th Century. Similar examples were traced to the Waddesdon Bequest in the British Museum and an example in the Grunes Gewolbe, Dresden, has been ascribed to the maker Jacob Heise (who flourished in Konigsberg from 1654-1663).
"This cup had been in the possession of the Bailward family at Horsington Manor, near Templecombe, Somerset, since the 19th Century and, despite the bowl and stem being separated from the foot, collectors were very eager to bid," said Lawrences' director Anthony Kilroy, who had carefully researched the item. The estimate of £15000-20000 acknowledged the damage as well as the rarity.
"Over a dozen telephone lines were reserved for it," commented Anthony after the sale. "After a lengthy tussle on the telephones between British and Continental dealers and collectors alike, the cup was bought by a British dealer for £210,000*."
*Hammer price. Buyer's premium is 19.5%
Lawrences in Crewkerne have reported another outstanding month of auctions. “We are delighted to have achieved some remarkable results in the last month,” says the firm’s Managing Director, Helen Carless. “Buyers have spent over £2.1 million with us in the last four weeks alone and we began the year with a similarly strong results for our sales in January. All our auctions in 2011 have indicated a surprisingly strong demand in the marketplace.”
Mrs Carless ascribes the firm’s successes to a combination of the valuers’ astute assessment of buyers’ tastes in a changing market, the ability to source and sell items of strong commercial appeal and a dedicated team of specialists and support staff. “Our specialists offer over 300 years of combined expertise,” says Mrs Carless. “It has enabled us to sell with great success items as diverse as a 17th Century amber goblet (£250,000), a silver model of a falcon (£20,500) and a superb concertina by C. Jeffries (£4060).”
However, that £2.1million has not just come from the firm’s high-profile catalogued auctions. “In addition, our hugely popular weekly general sales have generated over £190,000 this last month. To have offered well over 3000 lots in just those general auctions in just four weeks reflects the volume of goods coming into Lawrences day in and day out. We shall sell well in excess of 50,000 lots this year. Prices start at as little as £25 so we can appeal to all levels of the market and that has proved to be a vital part of our triumphs every year.” The auctioneers are inviting entries for all their forthcoming auctions and can be contacted on 01460 73041.
Image attached: Victorian silver model of a Gyr Falcon by Messrs Reily and Storer, 1846, 46cm high, bought for £20,500 in October 2011
The bi-annual Collectors Sale at Lawrences Auctioneers of Crewkerne attracted huge interest last week with strong bidding from the UK and overseas. Amongst the highlights was an early Jeffries concertina, probably the premier maker of fine concertinas in the 19th Century. The concertina’s appeal squeezed bids from collectors as high as £4060 (see image). Notable amongst a good selection of other more conventional musical instruments was a Buthod Luthier French Violin at £2740 and a Hawkes & Son Violin at £710.
Other highlights included an early game counter for keeping stock of a day’s shoot (£2090); a traditional `grocer’s shop` advertising stand for Carrs Biscuits for a neatly nostalgic storage solution (£1190); a collection of OO-gauge model trains from a local collector that chugged up to £7760; a fine quality tiger skin (£2620) alongside the beautifully coloured shell of a huge Loggerhead Turtle (£2270) and some early walrus tusks (£1490); a collection of early Britains figures of military figures that marched up to £3220; a meticulously finished scratch-built model locomotive (£2620); a collection of hunt buttons for the well-dressed sportsman (£740); a cricket bat signed by the legendary Sir Don Bradman (£710); a collection of early magic lantern slides (£690); a set of silver menu holders in the form of dogs (£830); a bronze of a bloodhound by Paul Troubetzkoy (1866-1938) at £2150; and a 19th Century dolls’ house at £780 that would have caught the eye of anyone who also liked the small pine Noah’s Ark with a good complement of figures and animals (£470).
Lawrences are now excepting entries for their Spring Collectors Sale.