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Investment jewellery and oriental ware among star sellers at March Fine Art Sale

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The first Fine Art sale of Cuttlestones’ 2016 calendar on Friday, 11th March produced a number of standout lots, with jewellery and oriental ware items performing very strongly. Featuring the usual plethora of antiques and collectables – including vintage clothing and accessories, silver, watches, coins, ceramics, glass, oriental ware, clocks, furniture, and pretty much everything else in between – the auction proved a great success across the board. UK and international buyers made their presence felt via the internet and telephone lines, in addition to those present in the room on the day.

As ever, items from the jewellery section proved popular, and the second highest fee paid on the day went to lot 129: AN 18 CARAT WHITE GOLD DIAMOND RING at £2,000. Similarly, lot 118: A HEAVY AND IMPRESSIVE GOLD CHARM BRACELET sold for an impressive £1,800. Featuring a large 9 carat gold curb chain set with eleven charms, the bracelet followed a recent trend in jewellery bought for investment, rather than for scrap – a likely result of the fall in global prices for precious metals over the last 18 months. Indeed, later in the watches section, lot 174: A GENTLEMAN’S ROLEX AUTOMATIC OYSTER PERPETUAL DATEJUST WRIST WATCH; also attracted buyers’ attention for its merits as an investment piece, eventually selling after some fierce internet bidding for a fee of £2,600.

Earlier in the day, the sale got off to a flier with Lot 18: AN EARLY 20TH CENTURY SMALL MOHAIR TEDDY BEAR. Straw-filled and featuring glass eyes, the “well loved’ teddy also came with an unusual vintage ‘googly’ eye mohair dog. However, it was the former which really captured collectors’ imaginations, with a number of condition reports and commission bids lodged prior to sale. After some fierce bidding online, the hammer eventually fell to a bid of £240. This was immediately followed by the success of lot 19: A RARE CHAD VALLEY ‘OOLOO’ THE CAT SOFT TOY; which, subject to numerous online bids, eventually sold for £200.

Another lot which set pulses raing was 376: A CHINESE CERAMIC LOW BOWL; featured in the always interesting oriental ware section. Despite the bowl being damaged, its enamel decoration and rim gilding certainly caught the attention of buyers, with the hammer falling to an impressive bid of £800. Elsewhere in this section, there was some ferocious internet bidding for three successive lots pertaining to the Chinese Cloisonne art style. The first, lot 380: A GOOD QUALITY CHINESE CLOISONNE CENSOR; realised £1,000. Next, lot 381: A PAIR OF CHINESE CLOISSONE WINE CUPS; sold for £1,100. Lastly, lot 382: A CHINESE CLOISSONE TWIN HANDLED BOTTLE VASE; capped off a strong showing for oriental pieces, selling for £1,100. It seems the interest of wealthy Chinese in buying back their artistic heritage looks set to continue.

Having somewhat diminished from its glory years in the 80s and 90s, the ceramic section also produced some pleasant surprises. Lot 333: A ROYAL DOULTON FIGURE OF ‘ST GEORGE; fetched an impressive £450. Not to be outdone, lot 292: A QUANTITY OF MINTON ‘ARAGON’ TEA AND DINNER WARE; also caught buyers’ attentions, realising £400. However, the real standout was lot 347b: A PAIR OF LARGE MOORCROFT LIMITED EDITION ‘NUDE LADY’ VASES; which drew significant attention from two collectors bidding via the telephone. Eventually the hammer fell to a bid of £550 – the top seller amongst a collection of other Moorcroft lots which combined realised over £3,000 – great news for local collectors of the Staffordshire-based firm.

Perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing item to feature in the sale was lot 473: AN UNUSUAL GOTHIC STYLE EIGHT DAY MANTEL CLOCK. Guided at £100-200, the clock was presented in an ornate rosewood case, flanked with removable wooden pilasters, with its ceramic face bearing the makers mark ‘W Davis & Sons 84 King William Street, City London’. After some strong bidding from in the room and via the telephone, the clock eventually smashed its estimate and sold for £400.

As the sale moved towards its conclusion, the penultimate furniture section threw up a number of highlights – lots 499 and 526 in particular. The former, A 19TH CENTURY OAK COUNTRYMADE CHEST OF TWELVE DRAWERS; sold for £750 – whilst the latter, A LARGE 19TH CENTURY MAHOGANY EXTENDING PEDESTAL DINING TABLE – a truly lovely classical piece – achieved an even higher figure of £850. Meanwhile lot 530: A LARGE FARMHOUSE PINE SCRUB TOP KITCHEN TABLE; shattered its £150-250 estimate to a winning bid of £550.

Elsewhere in the sale, Lot 179: A HOURIET FRERES & MULLER YELLOW METAL FULL HUNTER POCKET WATCH; made a staggering £350. Another famous name, Faberge – although unfortunately not in the form of one of his exquisite eggs got an airing in Lot 150: FABERGE – AN 18 CARAT WHITE GOLD & BLUE GUILLOCHE ENAMEL PENDANT, which realised £550. Of local interest, Lot 251: A HALLMARKED SILVER TYG TROPHY CUP; engraved ‘For the Best Two Acres of Mangolds’ grown within 12 miles of Penkridge sold for £220. Another quirky item – Lot 409: A 20TH CENTURY AUTOMATON MUSICAL BIRD CAGE – sparked a bidding war between internet and phone bidders, eventually selling for £250. And, in the final section of the day – outdoor effects – a collection of sandstone troughs and mushroom lots sold for a combined total of £1,000 as bidders invested in statement pieces to update gardens for the summer ahead.

Full results from the Friday 11th March Fine Art Sale – including hammer prices – are available online at www.cuttlestones.co.uk. For more information, call 01785 714905.

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