SILVER sales at the Woolley and Wallis’ Castle Street Salerooms – that last year totalled an impressive £1.9m – are tailored to catch the prevailing winds of the marketplace.
That means the focus is very much upon silver smallwork and
collectors' items rather than domestic plate and ergo the selling
rate at this January 30-31 sale was a healthy 86 per
Among the collectable forms in the spotlight at this sale was
the argyle - the double-walled vessel for warming sauces that
enjoyed table service in the late 18th and 19th centuries.
Six examples were consigned from the deceased estate of Margaret
Evans, a local lady who had collected for years - and all but one
sold above what were cautious estimates. Most eagerly contested was
a neoclassical model that was marked for Hester Bateman, London
The unusual vase-shape form with beaded borders, the presence of
a finely engraved armorial and the niche market for anything by
Bateman, gave it wide appeal. It sold to the trade at £6200 against
a £1200-1600 estimate.
A George IV example with a gadrooned base and a detachable cover
with ball finial by Emes and Barnard, London 1823, weighing 16oz
sold at £1800 while a plain cylindrical example with overstruck
marks, probably for Philip Norman, London 1771, took £1000.
The maker of a 7in (18cm) high, 9oz Elizabeth I parcel-gilt
communion cup was unidentified (it was struck once below the rim
with an incuse X mark) but it was certainly of Midlands origin. The
form of the bowl and the idiosyncrasies of the stem are typical of
Leicestershire and Warwickshire. It fetched a mid-estimate £5500 -
not a spectacular sum but it had some condition issues.
Above: an Elizabeth I parcel gilt communion cup, probably
made in the Midlands, had seen better days, keeping it to a
mid-estimate £5500 at Woolley and Wallis.
The opening section of the sale included a private collection of
sugar tongs and two private collections of caddy spoons alongside
some early spoons. A 7in (17.5cm) long, 1.8oz Elizabeth I/James I
seal top was made in the Wessex area sometime between 1590 and
It was struck once in the bowl with a pelleted and segmented
circular mark, had a large gilt Salisbury A type terminal, and was
pricked I.G. over 1651. A very nice example of a spoon found all
over the South of England, it prompted one private collector to
take bidding to a triple estimate
Another lot with a Salisbury connection was a Victorian-era
castle top vinaigrette engraved with a view of the cathedral by
Nathaniel Mills, Birmingham 1843.
Of the many highly collectable objects that the Mills family of
silversmiths produced in the 19th century, the 'castle top'
examples depicting landmark buildings are always among the most
popular.Those with the scarcest scenes have made over £5000.
Woolley and Wallis attracted lots of private local interest for
this vinaigrette but it was also competed by the London trade, who
secured it at £3800.
Novelties are not always easy to value. While a £300-400
estimate was way off the mark for this vinaigrette, then the
£1500-1800 estimate proved too daunting for a pair of rare
Edwardian doll pepperettes that failed to find a buyer. Specialist
Lucy Grazier said they attracted little interest either before the
sale or on the day.
Conversely, a pair of 2.5in (6.5cm) long, 4oz Edwardian novelty
pepperettes cast as two terriers by William Hornsby from London,
1906, had a more tempting £300-400 estimate and fetched £1400.
Widely admired by corkscrew collectors was a 4in (10cm) long 18th
century Dutch silver corkscrew modelled with a horse to the handle
that unscrewed to reveal a toothpick.
The date letter was obscured and it was struck with two later
duty marks but it was most likely made in Amsterdam
It fetched a double estimate £3300.
George III Tea Set
The National Maritime Museum will be the new home for a 37.5oz
George III three-piece tea set by Robert & Samuel Hennel,
London. The teapot, relatively plain save a stag's head finial, was
inscribed Presented to Sir Home Popham K.M. by the Hon, the
Court of Directors of the East India Company 1803.
Sir Popham was a British Admiral who fought in the French
Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. He is remembered particularly
for developing the signal code that the Royal Navy adopted in
1803.The museum secured it at the low £2000
The expected highlight of the day, a rare c.1699, 8in (20cm)
high William III provincial lighthouse caster by William Clare of
Warminster estimated at £9000-12,000, failed to sell.
The buyer's premium was 17.5%