Monday - 24 November 2014

Fresh Norris woodworking tool interest is plane to see

22 May 2012Written by Mark Bridge

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 was £11,000.

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 royalties.

Bailey Planes

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.

 

David Stanley, Osgathorpe March 31

Buyer's Premium: 15%

Sale total: £250,000

Lots sold to internet: 151

Value sold to internet: £39,076 (16%)

Bidders registered to internet: 125

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Written by

Mark Bridge

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Tools

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