Metalware

This sector comprises artefacts made from both base and precious metals. Many antique items were originally used for domestic purposes but are now collected on account of their craftsmanship, decorative quality and social interest.

Items can range from include pewter jugs, tin pots, brass bells, copper weathervanes and cast iron benches.

While this area offers plenty of affordable material, rare historical survivors can command high prices.


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Plentiful plaquettes dispersed in single-owner sale

13 December 2021

London auction offers fascinating bronzes from a little-appreciated collecting field.

Ilkhanid gold and silver-inlaid brass candlestick

Candlestick becomes most expensive Islamic metalwork

01 November 2021

This exceptional Ilkhanid gold and silver-inlaid brass candlestick has become the most expensive Islamic metalwork sold at auction.

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Christopher Dresser finds his time and place

27 October 2021

Christopher Dresser (1834-1904) designed two electroplated claret or water jugs for Elkington & Co of Birmingham in 1885 – both of them daring designs inspired by vessels from antiquity.

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Crawforth collection shows its metal

27 October 2021

Aided by strong American bidding action, the collection of Andrew Crawforth, the late Portobello Road trader and leading authority on early metalware, turned base metal into gold when all 431 lots – offered wihtout reserve – sold at Bonhams’ (27.5% buyer’s premium) Edinburgh sale.

Silver tankard

Pick of the week: Putting China on course for golf

13 September 2021

Estimated at £400-600, this 7in (17cm) high Chinese export silver dragon handled tankard sold for a much higher sum.

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Not bad for a sewer find – 400-year-old candlestick proves 'where there’s muck there’s brass'

06 September 2021

With the unusual provenance of having been dug out of a London sewer during excavations in 1930, the 15th or early 16th century copper alloy candlestick shown here underlined the truth of the maxim that where there’s muck there’s brass.

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Belgian buyers out in force as dealer's collection comes up for sale

09 August 2021

Despite a disappointing selling rate, dealer’s collection included notable results

Horn beakers

Saleroom pulls ‘looted artefacts from Maqdala’ after Ethiopian appeal

21 June 2021

A group of Ethiopian works of art believed to have been taken during the Battle of Maqdala in 1868 has been withdrawn from a Dorset auction after the Embassy of Ethiopia intervened.

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Double Islamic and Indian interest

07 June 2021

Shown here are two highlights from sales of Islamic & Indian art held by London salerooms recently.

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Limoges plaque bidder hell bent on a purchase

07 June 2021

Sixteenth century Limoges work depicts underworld scene from Virgil’s The Aeneid

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Metalware collection based on long experience

10 May 2021

John Douglas’ interest in antique base metalware started over 60 years ago.

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Taken up a peg or two from the estimate

19 April 2021

The name ‘peg tankard’ comes from the vertical row of pegs inside that can be used to measure the amount of alcohol drunk as it was passed around a table.

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Work of ‘modern day Grinling Gibbons’

15 March 2021

This late Victorian carved lime and soft wood panel is by James Peake (c.1839-1918), a carver and gilder.

Leather blackjack tankard

Horse to tankard: Oliver Cromwell’s warhorse mug sells in Dorset

01 March 2021

A tankard said to be made from the hide of Oliver Cromwell’s warhorse was the toast of an auction in Dorchester.

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Cluny Museum moves in to buy knightly ornament at auction

15 February 2021

The Cluny Museum in Paris, dedicated to works of art from the Middle Ages, pre-empted two items in a Pierre Bergé & Associes sale of Haute Epoque in Paris.

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No public view? No worries…

08 February 2021

Despite lockdown restrictions Bonhams' traditional Oak Interior offerings performed very well

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Wingett goes for upmarket upcycling turning scrap into a super Georgian cistern

30 November 2020

In an act of decidedly upmarket upcycling, dealer Simon Wingett of Burton Antiques and his business partner have commissioned a series of casts of a George II wine cistern to be made from scrap.

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Firing demand: three fenders eagerly contested at autumn sales

16 November 2020

Pictured here are three quite different brass fireside fenders – all of them eagerly contested at autumn sales.

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Ingenious design for travelling chalice

19 October 2020

Made from paktong, a zinc, copper and nickel (or similar) alloy resembling silver, this c.1780 English travelling chalice, or cup, is modelled on drinking glasses of the period.

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Lot watched by eager beaker bidders

05 October 2020

Silver by major names from the early to late years of last century were major eyecatchers at the Lacy Scott & Knight (20% buyer’s premium) 20th Century Design Sale in Bury St Edmunds.

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