Saturday - 19 April 2014

The added value of celebrity

18 January 2013Written by ATG Reporter

The names Cartier and Paul Hubner of Augsburg guaranteed the quality of a lapel watch and parcel gilt cup, but their values were enhanced by the names of early 20th century celebrities when they were offered at a recent sale held by Sworders at Stansted Mountfitchet.

The c.1920 Art Deco platinum watch with back case set with onyx and diamonds was signed to the silvered dial Cartier, Paris, Breveté Sans Garantie du Gouvernement. Equally important was the diamond-set monogram GM in the onyx and diamond brooch.

This stood for Gertie Millar, the Bradford-born, working-class girl who became one of the most famous British actresses in the early 20th century. She was given the brooch by the Earl of Dudley whom she married in 1924.

On her death in 1952 she left the watch to a friend from her acting days and the recipient's daughter entered it into the sale on December 4 where, estimated at £10,000-15,000, it sold at £30,000.

Auctioneer Guy Schooling said later: "I think the Gertie Millar connection was important. There was quite a battle for it but the New York purchaser was determined to have it."

Inscribed Cup

The c.1614 parcel gilt cup, 5½in (14cm) high and weighing 5oz, was engraved to the bowl and to the underside Lawrence of Arabia and R.B.L.L.D. June 21st 1933 from his Godfather T.E. Shaw, the reverse with facsimile handwritingFor the Imp: belated but will not know about time yet…TES.

The gift was indeed a little belated as Ruthven Barry Llewelyn Davies was born on May 9, 1933 at a time when Lawrence, who had adopted the name T.E. Shaw in a fairly half-hearted attempt to stay out of the limelight, was travelling on RAF business.

Estimated at £1000-1500 the cup sold at £2000.

Commenting on the additional value of the inscriptions, Mr Schooling said: "The cup was purchased by a leading book dealer - enough said!"

The buyer's premium was 20%.

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