Wednesday - 23 July 2014

Don’t forget to look in the garage

02 April 2011Written by Roland Arkell

ON visiting a bungalow just south of Knutsford for a probate valuation, Patrick Cheyne had been dismayed to find nothing of any value in the home itself – but rather better things emerged when he was shown the garage.

The pride and joy of the property's late owner had been an Austin 7 sports (a model commonly known as the Nippy) registered in June 1936.

Bought in 1958 for £15 minus the engine, it was lovingly restored, complete with British racing green paintwork, and paraded at various fairs. Despite its now rather tired cosmetic condition it caused enormous interest when offered for sale at St Peter's Assembly Rooms, Hale, near Altrincham, on February 26.

With numerous potential buyers vying on the telephone, it fell eventually to a "must have it" buyer from London at £7600.

Not only did the garage contain the Nippy car but also three velocipedes and a late Victorian/Edwardian bath chair.

These all sold well too. The English-made 'boneshaker' c.1870 with its wooden wheels, made £2400, courtesy of a local enthusiast who organises the Knutsford vintage bicycle races, while two 'ordinary' or penny farthings sold at £950 and £2000, the latter for a bicycle marked with its year of manufacture, 1884. The bath chair, with a typical wicker seat, took £380.

Moorcroft

Two other lots are worthy of note. An underrated lot in the sale catalogue was a Moorcroft tobacco jar decorated with wisteria on a cream ground. It is an early pattern c.1912-14, and, despite a few nibbles on the screw thread of the jar, it was in good condition.

Standing nonchalantly on the sideboard of a modern flat in Altrincham, its owners, one of whom was anxious to return home to the Philippines, had been only too pleased to learn it might fetch a few hundred pounds. It sold to a telephone bidder after some determined bidding for £5400.

The sale, which Patrick Cheyne considered one of his best in recent memory, also included what he called "without a doubt one of the finest Edwardian inlaid mahogany breakfront wardrobes I have ever seen".

With a pierced and broken swan neck pediment and profuse inlay to the cupboard doors and drawers, it soared to £4000, selling to a local dealer. At a time when many examples will struggle to bring more than £200-300, this was indeed a heavyweight price.

The buyer's premium was 15%

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