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Strong performances across the catalogue at Cuttlestones’ first two-day Fine Art Auction

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Lot 321, the pigeon racing trophy that achieved £6,372

Lot 99, the diamond ring that sold for £5,192

Staffordshire and West Midlands auction house Cuttlestones is celebrating a particularly strong performance in its first ever two-day Fine Art & Antiques auction. The company, which has auction rooms in both Penkridge and Wolverhampton, took the decision to extend its September Fine Art Auction to run over two days due to the large number of quality items consigned for auction. The result was a diverse catalogue that saw strong prices realised across the board; just a few highlights of which are featured in this report.

The auction took place on Thursday 13th and Friday 14th September 2012, with Vintage clothing, jewellery, watches and vintage costume jewellery selling on the Thursday evening following viewing. One particular lot of note on the first day was a platinum three stone claw-set diamond ring (Lot 99), its brilliant cut diamonds totalling approximately 2.84 carats, on which the hammer fell at £5,192.

The remainder of the sections were covered on the Friday; starting with a 157-strong Silver & Platedware section. The star lot here was undoubtedly a very attractive pair of hallmarked silver mounted decanters, marked for Birmingham 1887 and featuring tapering, facet-cut glasswork bodies with the silver mounts carrying a foliate engraving. Marked BB, possibly for Barker Bros Ltd, they fetched £2,006.

An interesting addition to this particular auction was a section dedicated to Pigeon Memorabilia. Eight lots ranging from medals and badges to fobs, prize cards and tins all revolving around the niche sport of Pigeon Racing appeared in the catalogue, with Lot 321; an elegant hallmarked 9 carat gold trophy by Warning & Gillow, presented for the Grand National Pigeon Race from Marennes Pons & Bordeaux on 14th July 1914 ‘flying’ away at £6,372.

Ceramics were also well represented, the stars of the show sixteen lots (429 – 444) belonging to the personal collection of the late Minton pâte-sur-pâte porcelain craftsman, Alboin Birks. Comprising a number of Birks-decorated Minton pâte-sur-pâte pieces alongside ephemera, photographs, drawings and other items the entire collection sold for an impressive £17,287.

But these weren’t the only ceramic items to achieve heady figures. Lot 343, a Foley ‘Intarsio’ garden seat designed by Frederick Rhead and decorated with a central band of geese around the body fetched £1,180 despite obvious restoration. Meanwhile Lot 402, a Royal Crown Derby jewelled ewer by Desire Leroy, its typically opulent blue, turquoise and gilt decoration bearing two rectangular panels of an exotic bird in a landscape, with one panel signed ‘Leroy’, was to sell for a handsome £3,420.

Oriental works were also a feature of the auction; the big seller here being a pair of Chinese baluster vases (Lot 453) decorated with Samurai warriors and scholars around the neck and body, a floral band to the waist, and Chinese text within cartouches which achieved £3,776.

On the art front, amidst some pretty impressive pieces the star proved to be lot 496, a folio of 35 well-drafted but fairly innocuous-looking drawings, one of which was framed. Attributed to JA Houston (19th – 20th Century) and covering various subjects they sold for an impressive £2,360.

Another particularly good result was lot 547 – a late 18th/ early 19th Century mahogany longcase clock by Sam Collings, Downend, which went for £4,248. The leading light in an impressive furniture section, with the Georgian, Victorian and 20th Century periods well represented, was lot 628; a Victorian walnut credenza of shaped breakfront form with the twin central door with inlaid satinwood decoration. This lovely piece sold for £1,652.

With such strong results across the board, the Cuttlestones team is buoyed by the results of its first two-day Fine Art Auction, as MD and Head Auctioneer, Ben Gamble, explains:

We’re really pleased to have achieved such great prices across the catalogue. Added to the fact that just one week before this sale we celebrated out highest ever-grossing Specialist Collectors’ Auction, and it’s proof that all the hard work is paying off. We put a huge amount of work into marketing both our services and the individual sales, targeting niche audiences to get the very best results for our vendors.

We now sell to a truly global audience, with a significant proportion of bids coming from overseas buyers either live via the internet, on the phone lines or via commission bids; yet our customers whether buying or selling, can still expect a personal service. Times are changing and provincial auction houses really can hold their own alongside the ‘big boys’, and this is a trend we’re determined to keep working to our advantage by investing to ensure we remain at the forefront of auction house technology, wherever it leads!

Cuttlestones’ next Fine Art and Antiques auction will take place on Thursday 6th & Friday 7th December at the Penkridge sale room. To find out how to consign lots for sale, or to arrange a valuation, call 01785 714905. For full results from the Friday, 14th September Fine Art & Antiques Auction, visit

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