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As the nation focuses upon the Diamond Jubilee, it is easy to overlook that HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh have also been married for a remarkable 65 years this year. An item at Lawrences in Crewkerne commemorates an earlier celebration in the Royal marriage. “It is an original drawing by the noted Italian portrait painter, Pietro Annigoni (1910-1988), who painted the famously elegant and regal image of the Queen in 1956 that established his lasting renown,” explains the firm’s specialist, Richard Kay. “In 1972, upon the silver wedding anniversary of the Royal couple, Jacques Cartier Mint in Canada commissioned Annigoni to produce a double portrait with the intention of it being made into a silver plate and a medallion. This was Annigoni’s first commission for a medal portrait and he produced a striking likeness of the Queen and her consort. This design was adapted into a silver platter and a smaller medal of pure silver”.
A lady who worked for the Jacques Cartier Mint in 1972, and who was closely involved with the production of the commemorative items, was given the original drawing, which measures 15 by 17 inches, as a token of the firm’s gratitude for her hard work. It is carefully executed in a combination of ink, charcoal, red crayon and grey wash and is fully signed by Annigoni. The owner has treasured the drawing for 40 years and has now decided to consign it for auction in Lawrences’ sale on July 6th. It will be offered with the plaque from the centre of the platter and a silver medal. The firm expects the lot to realise £1200-1800. More details from the auctioneers on (01460) 73041.
The remarkable diversity of collectors’ sales is part of their appeal and Lawrences’ recent 700-lot selection offered lots as diverse as a Meccano set, the autographs of the Rolling Stones and a cased catfish. Postage stamps began the day and the top lot was a collection of interesting examples with local cancellations on the envelopes for Minehead, Dulverton and Yeovil. Four Penny Blacks were included, franked for Reading, Norwich and Corfe Castle. The lot was bought for £2620.
Amongst the toys, trains and models, a showman’s steam traction engine called `My Fair Lady` made £1250; an early model train made by A Cole of Clapham chugged up to £980; a stationary agricultural steam engine took £2090; and a marine vertical engine made £2030. A collection of porcelain miniature dolls once owned by Charlotte Maskelyne and her sisters in the early 19th Century made £1550, whilst the dolls’ house furniture made £1670. A rare Tete Jumeau doll with weighted blue eyes and pierced ears was taken home by her new owner for £3100; and a Simon & Halbig doll was just ten inches high but cost its buyer £2740.
Other lots that attracted keen interest included a collection of brass Friendly Society pole heads from Nether Stowey, Mere and Frome that made £4540; a fine quality antique bow by James Tubbs eclipsed the violin with which it was sold to make £4780; a mighty heavy pair of granite curling stones weighed in at £210; a pair of 18ct gold cufflinks in the form of cricket bats and balls were bowled out for £380; an oil painting by Roy Nockolds of a Rolls Royce touring in the Alps cruised up to £1140; a 1925 watercolour by Michael Wright of a racing car rounding a bend sped away at £830; and a distinctive silver plated shop display for HMV of the little dog by the horn of a gramophone for `His Master’s Voice` scampered away at £740.
The day’s top honours came near the end when a fine Louis Vuitton steamer trunk, opening to reveal drawers and hanging space for the sophisticated traveller’s clothes, came from a Somerset attic and was in remarkably good condition. Richly evocative of Agatha Christie’s `Death on the Nile` and the elegant lifestyles of the wealthy tourist in the interwar years, the 44-inch trunk attracted intense national and international interest. This resulted in a dozen telephone bidders chasing it to £8960.
Relating to the Maskelyne Family of Bassett-Down, the collection included a number of miniature wooden and porcelain dolls and a range of furniture dating from the 18th and 19th Century.
Stiff bidding from the room and the internet saw prices rise quickly. The collection of miniature wooden dolls reached £800, the porcelain examples £1300,and the furniture £1400. All three lots being secured by a South West Collector.
Lawrences Auctioneer Simon Jones said, “It is very rare to see such an amazing collection and in particular to be able to associate the items with a family name.”
Measuring only 26cms high, this doll with weighted eyes and a closed mouth attracted a huge amount of pre sale interest.
This rare model saw feverish bidding over the internet reaching an amazing £2,300 on the day from a foreign collector.
Lawrences Auctioneer Simon Jones said:- "Rare doll’s continue to be keenly sought after in auction and our Collectors Sales are always very popular”.
Early highlights included the £3700 paid for a double-barrelled big game rifle and £6690 for a silver-hilted shamsir sword. A pair of Queen Anne pistols by Benjamin Brooke were bid up to £4180 and a fine pair of flintlocks by Samuel Brunn, gunmaker to the Prince Regent, fired enthusiastic bidding to take £5490. An Indian sword with a Hindu or Farangi `basket hilt` had elaborate damascene decoration and a gold inscription on the blade suggesting a date of 1659. Interest in this lot was intense and the price soared to £18880 [see image 126]
The high price of gold ensured a good result for a proof set of four Isle of Man coins (£1790) and another similar group at £1850, whilst a rare medallion from the 1897 Daimond Jubilee made £2860. A Charles I `Shrewsbury` pound coin from 1642 made £3160.
It was left to the medals to lead the day with a host of high prices. Top lots included a Zeebrugge Distinguished Service Medal group to J. M. Cowgill for his bravery in April 1918 (£8720); A group of CVO, CBE, and DSO with twelve further awards to Colonel Eric Alfred Hefford (£8840); a group of World War II German medals (£2500); a Companion of St. Michael & St. George group of seven medals awarded to Capt. D. N. Brinson (£3700); and a Naval General Service & Arctic Medal pair for William Hull (£5130). However, the day’s top price was for a very rare Boat Action Naval General Service Medal awarded to James Barrington in 1810 who, when under the command of Capt William Stewart, showed `obstinate resistance` towards a Latteen Xebec and overpowered a privateer called the `Cesar of Barcelona`. This attracted keen international interest to make £22700 [see image 673]and contributed to the day’s total of over £280,000
Lawrences’ recent auction in Crewkerne comprised a day of jewellery, watches, ceramics and glass with 800 lots coming under the hammer. Collectors were out in force and there were plenty of strong prices right throughout the day.
Gold was selling steadily: a mesh evening bag made £2030 against hopes of £500-700 whilst a 9ct cigarette case made £1790 (estimate £800-1000). An 18ct pocket watch on a 9ct chain was bought for £1370 and an 18ct wristwatch by Jaeger-Le Coultre made a top estimate £830. A boom in the desire for quality natural pearls saw two brooches, one set with a small pearl drop, soar above expectations to make £2030. Small and pretty items were popular: an enamel and diamond pendant set with a tiny clock made £1670; an enamel brooch of a harlequin made £450; and three paste-set brooches in the form of Christmas trees made an unseasonal £190. Predictably, the highest prices were paid for fine quality diamonds: a pair of stud earrings with just over 2 carats of diamonds made £5970; a Victorian diamond and pearl brooch also made £5970; a necklace set with a pear-shaped diamond of 1.27 carats made £4780; a pendant set with cushion-cut and rose-cut diamonds made £2740; and top honours for the day were saved for a superb solitaire ring with a mighty 3.5carat stone and five diamonds to the shoulders which made a top-estimate £14,340 [see image 1218].
In the Ceramics and Glass selection, a rare Doulton & Co figure of a young girl with a kitten made £2150; twenty lots of Steuben glass was keenly contested, with a top price of £4780 paid for a triangular sculpture of hot air balloons over a New England landscape (the collection took £11,230). A rare Carltonware ginger car and cover decorated with Egyptian motifs to commemorate the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922 made £2330. Top price in the glass section was the £2860 paid for a Bohemian green and white set of graduated tazzae (footed dishes). Elsewhere, a collection of sixteen various regimental plates and dishes made £2390 and a Nantgarw square dish made £1250. Highlights in the Oriental selection embraced Chinese and Japanese strengths: a large Imari vase made £1550; a Chinese ivory box and cover with delicate piercing and designs of bats within made £2390; a Chinese famille verte saucer dish of the Kangxi era (1662-1722) made £5970 [see image 1589] ; a blue and white kettle of the Qianlong period (1736-1795) made £6450; and a Kangxi onion vase just 7 inches high made £5490. Total for the day was just under £300,000.
Lawrences in Crewkerne began their massive 3500-lot week of Spring Fine sales on April 17th with 800 lots of silver and vertu. The general buoyancy of the silver and gold markets ensured a high selling rate and there were many rare and unusual novelties to catch the eyes of hordes of keen collectors from this country and abroad.
A modest little caddy spoon with a shell-shaped bowl and a swan-neck terminal on the handle was made in London in 1848 and it exceeded its £2000-2500 estimate to make £3700. A rare circular seal box and cover with the arms of the Earl of Exeter was made in Exeter in 1824 and made £2980. An impressively large tankard was proven, from an inscription on the base, to be a “gift from Lady Edith Phelpps to her Goddaughter Hester Santell in 1690” and it made £5970. Two similar pairs of 1767 candlesticks took £3220 whilst a plainer pair by Thomas Tearle from 1732 made £6930. An appealingly original cased set of George II tea caddies made by Daniel Smith in 1759 was contested to £4780: such a price reflects the precious nature of tea in the 18th Century.
Among the more unusual items, a French parcelgilt metal casket made by Giroux and Co in a Neo-Gothic style attracted keen bidding to take £6450. A silk pin cushion, allegedly the property of Queen Anne, was embroidered with silver flowers and was offered for sale under its own little glass dome. It made £690. A rare and historical Iraqi mosque candlestick was a winner of the gold medal at the Iraq-Baghdad Exhibition in 1922 and it made £1730. Two unusual silver medals for ice-skating and quoits dated from 1814 and the 1840’s respectively: they made £520.
Other oddities that sold well included a snuff box made of silver with sides formed from elephants’ molars (£450), a tiny 4cm long miniature monocular (£330), a nutmeg grater made for the 67th South Hampshire Regiment (£760), a silver tongue depressor (£95) and a stylish silver rest for a smoker’s pipe (£190).
A very rare Scottish physician’s box for Alexander Simpson (an Edinburgh Professor of Midwifery in the mid-19th Century) made £6090; a finely detailed portrait miniature by John Smart made £3820; and an exquisitely worked tortoiseshell tray, inlaid with mother of pearl and gold figures in the Chinese style, 31cm wide, made £14,930 despite damages [see image].
The old and new was as much in the demand as the domestic and the exotic on the last day of Lawrence’s Spring Fine Art auction recently. There were strong prices for items as diverse as Tudor portraits, Indian chess sets, English card tables and Eastern carpets.
The day began with a selection of 275 lots of pictures and highlights included £5975 for a 1919 lithograph entitled `Le Port` by C. R. W. Nevinson whose work is currently in high demand; a large 17th Century Dutch picture of a man shelling mussels, in the style of Michiel Sweerts, also made £5975; a beautifully detailed oil painting of a hunt meet by Henry Alken took £7170; and a delightful subject showing children playing with antiques in a shop was painted by Antonio Paoletti in about 1900. It doubled its estimate to take £13,140. A huge, 8-feet high portrait of the clan chief Duncan Macdonell Chisholm (painted about 1855) made £6450. The undoubted highlight of the section was a 16th Century portrait of a lady called Maria Potter, the wife of Thomas Potter, painted at the age of 23 in 1565. The picture, now ascribed to an intriguing but scarce artist known as the Master of the Countess of Warwick, was purchased by its lady owner in London for just £500 in 1995. It attracted considerable interest from no fewer than a dozen telephone bidders before being bought for £107,500 – a return for its lucky owner of 36% per annum and a good indication of the strength of the market for items of quality, rarity and historical appeal [see image 1829].
Highlights in the furniture and works of art included an Indian white ivory chess set that made £6930; another similar that made £4900; a pair of bronzes of the Duke of Wellington and Napoleon on horseback, 25 inches high, made £8840; an 8-feet long 17th Century oak side table made £4300; a plank coffer of the same era made £5130; and a fine pair of George III satinwood card tables inlaid with foliage decorations and tulip wood crossbanding, made £21,500 [see image 2287]. Amongst the rugs and carpets, a Turcoman susani made £9560, a Feraghan carpet made £2390 and a portion of a Ziegler pattern carpet made £6210 – all these were comfortably in excess of expectations and reflected the strength of bidding right across the sale. Lawrences reported a total in excess of £1.1million for the week.
The Sales Results for our Militaria & Collectors Sale may be viewed by selecting the 'Auctions' tab above, 'Past Sales' and then by viewing the catalogue for the relevant sale. The sales results are listed next to each item.
If you have any queries, please telephone 01460 73041.