Thursday - 24 July 2014

Finding the one that got away

05 June 2003Written by ATG Reporter

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 do.      

It took Bradford-on-Avon dealer Roger Bichard more than two decades but he finally repaired difficult memories of "the one that got away".      

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 May 28-29.

"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). 

 

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