While provincial auctions often struggle to find enough quality private antique furniture and works of art consignments for their sales, BBR Auctions breweriana sales are going from strength to strength at the South Yorkshire rooms near Barnsley.
They are planning to increase their biannual breweriana and pub jugs sales to four a year due to an enviable “sheer volume” of private entries.
“Breweriana is one of the more buoyant areas,” said BBR specialist Alan Blakeman speaking of a market which is dominated by collectors and private vendors and which saw a £33,000 total on 435 lots in November. Although Australian and New Zealand buyers were originally the major core of the breweriana collectors until a year or so ago, Alan Blakeman has seen their influence dwindle over the last few years as their currencies have weakened against sterling.
Their presence in this sale was negligible with UK buyers the most dominant group. One entry stole the show: a colourful 63/4in (17cm) Royal Doulton Barnsley Brewery jug of 1906. Consigned from the collection of a local antiques dealer, Alan Blakeman felt sure “it was the right time time to be selling the jug” although, as he said, “Pub jugs are quirky objects and can be difficult to predict.”
The unusual designs on this entry generated interest from six bidders in the room and on the telephone.
It illustrated a Brown, Corbett & Co Irish whiskey bottle on one side with an Edward Young Distillers Liverpool and Glasgow whisky bottle on the other.
Its white body was decorated with coloured vines and wheatsheafs and was inscribed Barnsley Brewery Cos Ltd, Famous and Mild and Bitter Ales, Oakwell Breweries.
Few beer jugs exceed £1000 at auction, but this unusual example in good condition went at £3100 to a London collector on the telephone – a possible world auction record for a beer jug.
Also of note was a boxed set of three Buchanans Black and White Scotch whisky jugs with the trademark two Scottie dogs. The private vendor had discovered the jugs sealed in their original box and they brought £600 from a UK collector.
A strong price was also bid for a Grants jug with a dark green body and a coloured portrait of a lady with black lettering on white Ask For Grants Invercauld Scotch. The vendor was a former landlady from North Wales who realised its potential value after collectors in her pub pestered her to sell it for £100. It fetched £750.
Guinness breweriana continues to give bidders strength. A Carltonware Guinness toucan lamp with its original shade and in good condition sold at £520, and a set of three flying toucan wall hanging plaques brought £350.
BBR Auctions, Elsecar November 11
Buyer’s premium: 10 per cent