ENGLISH POTTERY SALESTHE products of the Staffordshire potteries from blue-printed tablewares to cottage chimney ornaments and Toby jugs to ironstone services, were the subject of a 356-lot sale at Bonhams’ Knightsbridge (20/12% buyer’s premium) back on May 11.
While demand for these categories has not been soaring away
recently, the auctioneers managed some very respectable selling
rates for this event: 86 per cent by lot and a even more bullish 89
per cent in money on a total of £125,360.
Keeping estimates at realistic levels helped ensure these strong
selling rates, but specialist Gareth Willams said he also marketed
the sale at specific groups in other disciplines on Bonhams' client
list which may have helped increase interest. In total, the sale
saw 90 different buyers of which Mr Williams reckoned two-thirds
were private and one third trade.
The sale was also helped by the inclusion of a 45-lot single owner
pottery collection that was market fresh, little known and keenly
estimated. The collection of Judith and Leonard Licht, much of it
made up of Prattware plaques and busts, was started in the 1970s
and its owners decided that, with space at a premium, the time had
come to sell.
"Essentially the collection was there to be sold," said Mr
Williams, and indeed all bar half a dozen lots found buyers,
although not everything romped away. The potential best-seller, a
Prattware Napoleonic bear-baiting jug of c.1800 featuring a muzzled
brown bruin clutching a monkey wearing a hat inscribed Boney sold
short of its £4000-6000 estimate at £2800. Admittedly it had
damage, but was nonetheless a desirable subject.
One area of the pottery market that has been performing strongly
is Toby jugs with a group of around a dozen particularly keen UK
collectors and dealers contesting any good examples to
substantially higher levels than a few years ago.
Bonhams' sale included a 40-lot selection from five different
vendors. While some of the lower valued, damaged versions
struggled, there was no shortage of demand for the 10in (25cm) high
Wood type Admiral Lord Howe jug of c.1790, shown here, which ended
up selling for £7800 against predictions of £3000-5000. Gareth
Williams recalled selling another version of this model with
particularly attractive strong colours in November 2001 for
This section also included a more recent Toby offering, a
Wilkinsons set of WW1 leaders jugs modelled by Carruthers Gould.
The auctioneers had split these up to sell separately on the basis
it would increase the potential pool of buyers to those who wanted
to fill gaps. All found buyers, led at £1400 by a General Botha
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