Among the miniatures and novelties at Dreweatt Neate’s 2 April sale, there was especial interest in a 37-lot private collection of card-cases amassed over 50 years by an Oxfordshire vendor.
Of these the most popular component, predictably were the silver card cases, known as castle tops after the subject matter, which were the speciality of Victorian makers like Nathaniel Mills. The half a dozen examples pictured here sold much as expected save for the case in the middle of the top row, which
was contested by two private collectors to £5200, auctioneer Richard Slater having expected no more than £2000. The reason for the high price was the engraved view of Christchurch College Oxford – a rare subject, apparently, combined with the high reputation of the Birmingham maker, Nathaniel Mills, and the fact that two
collectors desperately wanted it – the underbidder securing a bank loan for this purpose.
Results for the other card cases were more routine; Top row left – card case by Nathaniel Mills, Birmingham 1842, chased with a view of St Paul’s Cathedral – £1150.Top row right, card case chased with a view of the Houses of Parliament by Wheeler and Cronin, Birmingham 1845 – £980.
Bottom row, left to right;
double sided card case with
a view of St George’s Gate, Windsor Castle and a view of the west front of Westminster Abbey by Joseph Willmore, Birmingham 1843 – £800; double sided card case chased with two different views of Windsor Castle and pierced with flowers by Nathaniel Mills, Birmingham 1838 – £580.
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