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The fashion for buckles peaked in the 1770s to 1790s but tailed off with the onset of the French Revolution as the well-to-do at home and abroad began to dress down. Lord Foppington in the Sheridan play, A Trip to Scarborough, was clearly a fan – “The shoe is no earthly use but to keep on the buckle” – and a flamboyantly-dressed dandy might don as many as seven buckles variously attached to his shoes, breeches, belt, stock and hatband.

Buckles may be ideal for collecting and are arguably more
aesthetically pleasing than potlids, railwayana and Dinky toys, but their appeal is seemingly limited. Only eight buyers (one dealer and seven privates) contested the 45-multiple lot buckle collection at Bonhams Knightsbridge (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) on July 15. Just under half found buyers, netting just under £2500.

The 150 buckles were consigned to the 387-lot silver and vertu sale by the family of a deceased UK enthusiast who had built the collection over 20 years. Estimates ranged from £60 to £220, with the earliest buckle dated c.1730 and the latest examples dating to the early 20th century.

The foremost entry was a pair of George III enamelled and paste set oval knee buckles pictured right, offered together with a navette-shaped paste buckle of the same period that sold to a collector for £350.

Elsewhere, a George II paste set shoe buckle, c.1730, its D-shaped ring set and finer execution dating it to the early 18th century, together with three other buckles, brought £160.

Modern silver brought the biggest money in this monthly sale, with a table service of flatware by Garrard & Co., London 1972-1973, making £3900 while a Gerald Benney candelabrum, London, 1968, fetched £3000. The sale brought a £79,100 hammer total and was 69 per cent sold by lot.