David Stanley Auctions offered the second part of the collection of woodworking tools formed by David R. Russell, renowned for the rarest and finest Norris planes.
When the first instalment was sold last
September the top lot was an example of the very rare steel-soled
Norris A28 adjustable chariot plane at £13,500, and history all but
repeated itself in the spring when the top lot was another A28 from
the same collection on March 31.
As the cataloguer remarked, so few of these
planes have ever come to light that it is remarkable to find two in
the same collection and the second example was reckoned to be in
even nicer condition. With one potential buyer presumably now out
of contention, competition was a touch less fierce and the price
Throughout the 1058-lot sale Norris planes
from the Russell collection and elsewhere proved a very reliable
commodity and overall 49 planes by that maker sold for an average
price of nearly £1400.
The other prominent name among the planes
was Leonard Bailey, an American maker whose Boston, Massachusetts,
factory was bought out by A. Stanley & Co in 1869. Bailey
continued to oversee Stanley's plane production until 1875 when he
left and set up in direct competition after a dispute over
This sale included examples of distinctive
all-metal Bailey planes from before and after his time at Stanley.
From the earlier era came a 21¾in (55cm) 1855 patent split-frame
iron jointer of a type which may be unique in this size at £7200.
An example of a No 11 combined smoother, rabbit and fillister
plane from the Victor range produced by Bailey after his split from
Stanley reached £5000. Both went to a US buyer.
Interest overall was international with
buyers from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy and
The Netherlands, as well as the US and the UK, bidding live on the
internet. Among the earlier planes from the collection was a
gunmetal, steel and rosewood English mitre plane which was recorded
in David Russell's Antique Woodworking Tools (2010)
as the earliest dated example known. Stamped 1739 beneath
the maker's mark BHG London, this sold for £7500.
While the Russell collection gave the
biggest boost to the overall £250,000 total, his was not the only
collection to feature in the catalogue. The sale saw the first
instalment of tools from the Shropshire collector John E. Jones,
who specialised in planes by the Scottish firms Spiers and
Mathieson. Among the lots from this source were a unique Spiers
15in (38cm) rebate plane at £2000 and an equally scarce Spiers 10in
(25cm) skew mouth rebate plane at £1900.
Osgathorpe March 31
Buyer's Premium: 15%
Sale total: £250,000
Lots sold to internet:
Value sold to internet:
Bidders registered to
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