Thought that internet bidding was for low value items only? The five-figure sums tendered online at two country sales last week suggest the received wisdom may need a rethink.
The remarkably realistic lizard or salamander magnum weights
are among the most coveted of all lampwork paperweights. There are
perhaps two dozen known and, although a great deal of mystery
remains regarding their production, most are thought to have been
made by the Cristallerie de Pantin, near Paris in the second half
of the 19th century.
None of the weights produced by Pantin (often referred to as The
Fourth Factory after Baccarat, Clichy, and Saint Louis) are signed
or dated. This 4in (10cm) example, decorated with a lizard among
aconites appeared for sale at the Market Harborough auctioneers
Gildings on July 10.
It had been consigned by a couple who had bought it within the
last six months at a boot fair in Northamptonshire. Missed at the
cataloguing stage (it was given a cursory description and a
£100-150 estimate), it had been picked up on the internet long
before viewing and condition reports mentioning a chip and some
scratches had been issued to a number of potential buyers,
including an American who chose to bid on the telephone and two
strong bidders in the room.
However, the successful US buyer chose to bid live on the internet
Entering the fray at the last moment, the East Coast collector bid
£22,000 - a hammer price that was subject to a 12.5 per cent
buyer's premium plus a three per cent online bidding charge.
The very best Pantin salamander weights have generated six figure
sums in America where they are most avidly collected.
Meanwhile, the ebonised mahogany and brass mounted Aesthetic
Movement side table, proved the unexpected highlight of the sale
conducted by Dickins of Middle Claydon, Buckinghamshire on July
Bought for a song at the Shepton Mallett Antiques and Collectors'
Fair and taken to auctioneer John Dickins, who has sold two Voysey
clocks in recent years, it was entered for sale with an estimate of
£800-1200 and a tentative attribution to Christopher Dresser.
In fact a drawing for a similar table (but with a circular top and
longer legs) is pictured in The Secular Furniture of EW Godwin by
Susan Weber Soros, together with mention of a table of a modified
design - "whereabouts unknown"- pictured in a photograph taken at
Tyntesfield, the North Somerset country house, in 1873.
Before the sale there was speculation that this could be that
table and indeed, on the day, lot 222 was brought before the
audience as "a long lost Godwin table".
Admired for its excellent condition, fine quality (it was probably
made by Collinson & Locke) and its strong echoes of Eastern
design, it was competed by all of the major decorative arts dealers
over ten telephone lines, but competition also came from a bidder
from France also using www.the-saleroom.com.
In the running from about £6000, the internet bidder only lost out
to a dealer from the Midlands at £34,000 (plus 15 per cent buyer's
Another Godwin table was sighted in Salisbury the previous month.
A report on that Woolley & Wallis sale appears in this week's
ATG printed newspaper.
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