IT may be a specialised collecting area, but antique bottles have plenty of enthusiasts at all levels. In the sub-sector of antique wine bottles, this 7in (18cm) high example ticked many of the boxes when it came up for sale in Exeter at Bearnes, Hampton & Littlewood last week.
Its shape, a transition between the 17th century shape globe and
shaft and the onion form of the early 18th century, allowed the
auctioneers to suggest a date of around 1680-90.
Even more importantly the dark olive green glass bore a clearly
impressed seal, featuring the family crest of a peacock over a
marquis's coronet flanked by the initials GC. If its origins have
not yet been identified, their discovery is probably only a matter
The best piece in a consignment from the Torquay area, it was
estimated at £2000-2500 in the July 14-15 sale, but Bearnes'
specialist Nic Saintey thought it could make £10,000.
In the event collector and trade interest from the UK and US
took it past that level, with the hammer falling to an anonymous
telephone bidder against a phone underbidder at £14,500 (plus 17.5%
The price put it up amongst the highest paid at auction for
early glass wine bottles, like the shaft and globe version with
handle sold for £21,000 at BBR in July 2008, or the shaft and globe
version sold by Bonhams in December 2007 for £18,000.
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