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It produced some strong individual prices from a stock-hungry trade, but equally a fairly hefty 38 per cent unsold percentage as the less
desirable routine material failed to change hands.

Leading the individual highlights was the rare Punch and Judy mustard and pepperette pictured here, marked for James Barclay Hennell, 1880 with a design registration diamond for February 1868 and weighing 13oz. This is just the type of offering that finds a keen following, its novelty appeal, relative scarcity and good maker attracting collectors and dealers alike; added to which, this privately consigned pair was in near pristine condition – probably never used, according to CSK’s Jeffrey Lassaline.

When a version of Mr Punch with earlier hallmarks went under the
hammer at Sotheby’s years ago it was taken to £9000 so the £6000-8000 guideline on this pair was always going to look conservative, and it duly sold for £13,000 to a collector on the phone against telephone underbidding. “I don’t think anyone was surprised at what it made,” said Mr Lassaline afterwards.

This was certainly the most dramatic instance of an entry with that little bit extra to propel its price out of the
ordinary, but there were others.

Earlier on in the sale there was more novelty appeal in a group of 12 turn-of-the-20th-century German cups formed as musicians playing a variety of instruments, their bodies serving as the cups and with nodding head covers.

Averaging out at 61/2in (17cm) high, these weighed in at a substantial 152oz and were pursued by the trade to £8000. There was interest too in a rare Charles II provincial silver tumbler cup 3oz and 3in (8cm) wide with marks for Marmaduke Best, York 1682, that went to the trade for £3000 while the slightly more unusual Old English thread and shell pattern on a 130-piece, 335oz flatware service, (mostly marked for Elizabeth Eaton 1845 and all with the same crest and motto), was enough to lift the bidding to £11,000, three times the estimate.

The morning of the same day saw a 303-lot silver and vertu gathering put under the hammer at Bonhams Knightsbridge (17.5/10% buyer’s premium). This saw a higher 75 per cent take-up, but individually there were no results in the same novelty league as the Punch and Judy or the musicians.

However, what was a well-viewed event produced some solid prices for anything commercial. Leading the list at £4300 was a 373/4oz James II silver tankard fully marked for SH 1685 to the cover and side and with the maker’s mark to the handle but with a later Regency period armorial.

A couple of lots earlier the sale featured a George I period ‘duty dodger’ coffee pot by David Willaume of c.1720. This had the Britannia mark, lion’s head and date letter for 1697 all erased by the London assay office in acknowledgment, as the terms implies, that its marks had been falsified when made to evade the tax levied on silverware from 1720-57. Such pieces have an academic interest today and this pot, which was in good condition, duly tipped over its upper estimate at £3600.

If these prices were pretty much what was predicted, the auctioneers had not reckoned on as much at £3800 for a pair of 18th century 171/2in (44cm) Dutch cast silver candlesticks. This pair, which was marked for Arnoldus Van Essesm of Groningen 1751, had been drilled for electricity and had later nozzles with 19th century Belgian control marks,
disadvantages which had kept the
estimate down to £1800-2500, but the pair met with keen trade interest.