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Sharp shooters – 19th Century pistol collection tops £14,000 at auction

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We are once again celebrating a bumper Fine Art sale, with over 700 registered online alongside a strong contingent in the room and on the telephone line. A typically diverse catalogue saw some 1,186 lots go under the hammer over the two-day sale, which took place on 8th & 9th June at our Penkridge sale room.

Among the highlights were a collection of 19th Century pistols consigned by a local collector which, split into several lots, achieved a total of £14,000. Prominent examples from the collection included lots 1061 – a pair of early 19th C Hanovarian percussion pistols by Ernst Stoermer, which fetched £1,800; Lot 1059 – a pair of Sea Service pistols stamped ‘Tower’ and with crown over GR cypher, which sold for £3,500; lot 1060 – a pair of similarly marked 1806 holster pistols marked which achieved £1400 and lot 1053 – a pair of Ottoman flintlock pistols which saw the hammer fall at £1600.

A strong display in the art section
Once again, a strong art section provided some of the sale’s undoubted highlights – including Lot 69, a Simon-Albert Bussy painting of a Javan Fruit Sucker bird, signed lower right and carrying labels verso from an exhibition of his works held at Leicester Galleries, Leicester Square, London in July 1935. Typical of Bussy’s bright avian subjects, the painting triggered something of a bidding battle between four telephone bidders; eventually selling for £4,800.

Another strong performer was lot 246 – a wooded river landscape of the early 20th C French impressionist school, indistinctly signed ‘Emile …’ lower right – which sold for £2,100 against an estimate of £100 – £200. Another ‘sleeper’ came in the form of Lot 271 – expected to fetch £1,200 – £1,500, this depiction of a gloomy factory interior featuring a figure pushing a cart by the British artist James Farrier Pryde went on to fetch an impressive £4,500 – following a battle between internet and telephone bidders – this time, the telephone won!

Also performing well in this section, and featuring very different subject matter, was lot 311 – an oil on panel by the Bavarian painter Johann Jakob Dormer (1741 – 1813) Saint Jerome in a cave with manuscript looking heavenward to a fanfare of trumpets, which went for £2,300 to a buyer in the room. Last of the standout lots in the art section was lot 426 – a watercolour study of a reclining female nude by Irene Klestova. Attracting over 10 commission bids, this lovely quality piece sold for £1,800.

All that glitters…
Day 2’s early highlights came in the Dressing Table Items & Collectables section, with the performance of three gold items hailing from a local estate seeing the vendor go home delighted. They comprised Lot 546a – a hallmarked 15ct gold cigarette case by Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Co Ltd, which achieved £2,100; Lot 547a – a Hallmarked 15ct gold vesta case by the same maker, which went for £480; and Lot 548a – a further vesta by the maker this time 18ct gold, which sold for £510.

In the Coins section, meanwhile, a single collection made up all but two of the lots – and amassed an impressive total in excess of £8,000. The standout of these was Lot 716 – a collection of coins, 6d, 2/6, William III to Queen Elizabeth II to include half crowns 1903 and 1902, sixpence 1952 and more, which saw the hammer fall at £1,600.

Strong performances in the watches section proved once again the desirability of top-end watches. Standout lots included Lot 723 – a ladies’ Ebel diamond-set 18ct white gold wristwatch with blue dial surrounded by approx. 1.5 carats of brilliant cut diamonds, which sold for £980. Meanwhile, Lot 752 – a 1960s Rolex Oyster perpetual 200m 660ft submariner wristwatch sold for £9,000 despite unknown working condition and some wear and tear being well documented in the condition report. 

Ceramics have their day…
Proving that the market for ceramics is still alive and kicking, three lots in particular stood out in a 77 lot-strong section. Lot 894, a pair of tin glaze blue on blue plates, decorated with a dog sitting upon a plinth, and both featuring significant chips to the rim, fetched £380 – shattering their estimate of £20 -£40!

Lot 927 – a collection of five items, the main being a pearlwear blue & white jug, believed to be Swansea, showing a guillotine with an inscription ‘View of La Guillotine or The Modern Beheading Machine at Paris by Which Louis XVI, Late King of France Fuffered (sic) on the Scaffold, Jan 21 1793’. Despite being badly broken, this sold along with an early frilled plate, two black basalt jugs and a mug for £450.

Furniture – and everything else!

Continuing the trend of strong performances for Chinese art and antiques, lot 979 – an intricately carved Chinese tortoiseshell card case caused quite a stir online, eventually selling for £700 to an internet bidder. The trend continued later in the sale with Lot 1148, a large and impressive Oriental ebonised Shibayama cabinet dating from the Meiji period, which sold for £700.

Elsewhere, a 19th Century teak campaign chest of five draws, in lovely condition, sold online for £950 – proving the market is still strong for quality antique furniture. Moving from the classic to the unusual to finish our round up, lot 1151 – a life-sized pottery model of a Shetland pony, commissioned by a local collector as a one-off piece and made by the ‘Wains’ factory in Stoke-on-Trent – sold for £500. Despite having been broken and since repaired this unique piece was, unsurprisingly, a real talking point in the sale room!

Cuttlestones is now consigning lots for its next two-day Fine Art auction which will take place in September 2018. To arrange a free valuation with no obligation, email [email protected] or call 01785 714905. The full results of the March Fine Art Sale can be found online at

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