Every dealer has one – a painful story to relate about some rare and valuable object they let pass fleetingly through their hands at a knock-down price only to learn later of its true significance and value.
More often that not a recounting of the tale ends in the phrase
"…and I'll never see another one". But just occasionally they
It took Bradford-on-Avon dealer Roger Bichard more than two
decades but he finally repaired difficult memories of "the one that
It was in the late 1970s when Mr Bichard - whose business is
today called Moxhams Antiques - attended an Aldridge's sale
clearing the stock of a bankrupt dealer at the George Inn,
Glastonbury. He spotted an unusual painted Windsor chair and bought
it for £11 and had been happy to sell it on quickly without
research for a tidy profit of £98. He later learned, however, that
it had "whizzed its way around the Cotswold trade" before ending up
in the London shop of Jellinek and Sampson.
It was there that David Howard (he of Chinese armorial porcelain
fame) identified the crest as Perceval impaling Compton and
suggested that the chair was made to mark the marriage between Sir
John Perceval, the 2nd Earl of Egmont (1711-70) and Catherine
Compton on January 26, 1756. Shortly afterwards it was sold to the
Victoria and Albert Museum.
That's the sort of experience that really hurts, but at least Mr
Bichard was able to identify at a glance the unrecorded pair to
that chair when it appeared in Leominster at Brightwells' sale on
"Having made a mistake on the first one, I was not going to let
this one go," he told ATG last week. He was the buyer (for stock)
at a record-breaking £19,000 (plus 15% premium).