Wedgwood, famous as it is, is not the leading name for majolica collectors and this mid 19th century matchbox modelled as a fly, right, was something of a puzzle to Paul Goodley, specialist at Aylsham auctioneers Keys (10% buyer’s premium) when it was entered for the March 15-16 Norfolk sale.
He had never seen its like before and gave it a modest
guideline of £150-200, although he said later that he thought it
might fetch around £2000.
Buyers thought better of the 5in (12cm) long box, which bore a
three-letter date stamp and was in rather more muted, and
realistic, colours than one associates with majolica. Despite some
minor damage to the inside rim, the novelty item was the lot which
added an appropriate buzz to an otherwise fairly routine outing.
Healthy bids on the book were beaten by telephone bids before the
fly went to a majolica dealer in the room at £4000.
Also contributing to the 1507-lot sale's £100,000 total was a pair
of 1784 Irish provincial tablespoons by Limerick silversmith Thomas
Burke. In good condition, they attracted considerable interest from
Irish dealers, selling to one of them at £1250.
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