A year after offering the first spectacular array of woodworking tools from the collection of David R. Russell, David Stanley Auctions of Osgathorpe included the third instalment from this prolific source at their most recent sale.
Once again there were some strong prices
for the Norris planes which were Russell's first love.
Bidding peaked when a Hong Kong collector
went to £8500 for a little-used Norris No.11 skew-mouth mitre plane
with rosewood infill, one of only two known. The same collector
went on to buy five more Norris planes.
As usual at these sales, international
interest was an important factor and bids were taken from a total
of 12 different countries at the auction on September 29.
With 116 registered internet bidders,
online buying accounted for 145 of the 970 lots.
As well as showcasing items from the Russell
collection, this sale was the last chance to buy one of the rare
and early dovetailed steel planes by Stewart Spiers of Ayr from the
John E. Jones Collection.
The pick of the final tranche from this
source was an apparently unique skew-mouth panel plane with its
original Spiers iron which sold to an American collector at
With plenty of good material coming onto the
market from such sources it was not surprising that bidding
faltered on occasion and the auctioneer noted that braces, in
particular, "seemed to take a breather in this auction".
The restrained and refined lines of fine
early British steel planes may command the highest prices in this
specialised collecting field, but there is also demand for the
mainly Continental carved and decorated tools which make a good
claim to be works of art in their own right.
There were a number of examples in this sale
including, from the Russell collection, a 19th century French
carrot (a tapered reamer used by coopers to cut holes in barrels)
with a 17in (43cm) rosewood crosspiece carved as two scaled
This reached £3000, while a fine example of
German decorative ironwork in the form of an early 18th century
armourer's saw which took £2000. Dated I.T. 1713, it was
ornamented with scrollwork and chiselled around the frame with
flames belching from a dragon's mouth.
Above: 18th century glazier's hammer -
£2500 at David Stanley Auctions.
Examples of heavily decorated English tools
are rather rarer but there was no shortage of ornamental turning on
an early 18th century rosewood-handled glazier's hammer which went
to a US bidder at £2500.
This was inscribedJoseph Rookerwith a barely
decipherable1707, a date which tallies with the records of the
The buyer's premium was 15% .