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Rarity Proves to be Popular in £260,000 Silver Auction...

21st July 2020

Lawrences held their first Fine Art auctions since lockdown eased and they began proceedings with a terrific sale of silver and vertu.

“We had a very busy view, stretched over two weeks, with all appointments carefully managed to observe social distancing regulations,” says the firm’s silver specialist, Alex Butcher. “On sale day, we were permitted to allow only a few into the saleroom but most of the bidding was online or by telephone and we sold well in excess of 85%.”

Early highlights included a George III fish slice made by the eminent silversmith Paul Storr in 1813 making £1800 and two early spoons by Richard Crosse (1632) and by Thomas Issod (c.1683) scooped up above-estimate bids of £1500 and £1620 respectively.

An Indian/Burmese two-handled cup showed the strength of demand for silver from the sub-Continent by making £2370 and two small Portuguese salvers, made in Oporto but a century apart, served up bids of £1750.

British rarities were also in demand: a Scottish `bullet` tea pot by William Aytoun (1725) brewed up bids of £3250; a 3” (7cm) North Country tumbler cup by Robert Makepeace of Newcastle (1721) soared to £4500 and an unusual modern cast figure of a bellowing hippopotamus by Edward Barnard, 7 inches (18cm) long, roared to £2370. A very scarce George III (1794) mounted ebony tipstaff took bids of £4250, well above hopes of £800.

Highlights in the vertu section included a 19th-Century Dutch tobacco box, finely engraved with vignettes of the four seasons making £4750 and two fine miniatures by Andrew Plimer and by John Wright making £875 and £1620.

Three of the most remarkable prices, in a sale that showed a marked enthusiasm for items of quality and rarity, were paid for lots from distant lands. An American gold vesta case, probably by Shreve and Company of San Francisco, c.1865-1875, commemorated the San Francisco gold rush with an engraved seated figure and the word `Eureka`. Weighing just three quarters of an ounce and barely two inches (5.5cm) long, this struck gold by making £3750.  A late 18th Century Russian silvergilt and niellowork tea pot by Alexei Torlov, Moscow, 1796, was lavishly engraved on a textured ground and made £6870.

The day’s top price was paid for a scarce, early 19th Century Central American, Spanish Colonial silvergilt tray, engraved with arms (probably for the 4th Earl of Hardwicke) and this made £10,620.


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