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Walpole crest helps set record for nutmeg grater

19 November 2005Written by ATG Reporter

The second tranche of a private collection of nutmeg graters was offered at Woolley & Wallis’ October 19 sale.

When the Salisbury saleroom offered the first instalment on April 20, it sold out in record time, creating a new benchmark for these collectables. This selection was not quite such a ground breaker but nonetheless gave a solid repeat sell-out performance.

It included strong prices for the rarest and best items, like this 3oz, 2.25in (6cm) wide unmarked cartouche-shaped example of c.1740.

Normally, a piece like this would make around £2000, reckoned auction specialist Alexis Butcher. But what lifted this version out of the ordinary was the engraved crest for Walpole, probably for the celebrated Sir Robert Walpole 1676-1745 for Walpole-related silver of any form exerts its own special magic.

When this last went under the hammer in 1998 at Christie's it fetched £8500, a huge price which also established an auction record for a nutmeg grater.

At the Salisbury rooms it broke new ground again when the silver dealer Nicholas Shaw bid £11,500 to secure it.

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