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Fortunately there was a very rare English two-colour wine glass of c.1765 at the top of the list to redress the balance. This piece, with its blue tinted ogee bowl and foot and multispiral opaque twist stem, is one of only two recorded examples of this colour combination. The auctioneers’ estimate of £12,000-18,000 was left in the shade as a London dealer outstripped various trade and private competitors to secure it at £27,000.

As ever, scarcity has its rewards, but in fact half of the drinking glasses (as opposed to paperweights) in this sale, were English and their performance clearly demonstrated the strength of this market.

Eighteenth century colour twists, which have had a switchback price profile over the past decade or two, sold well here and Jacobite glasses, whose values took a bit of a tumble a few years ago after some debate about the dating of this class of glassware, seem to have recovered.

All found buyers even if not, reckoned Mr Cottle, at the headier levels of the late ’80s. In fact, very little English material failed to sell.

As mentioned, the presence of much privately entered material helped. The 30 lots that comprised the collection of Mary Edwards, formed in the ’60s and offered by descent, were just the type of unseen, reasonably estimated material the market loves, and prices for some of the more typical 18th century examples in this section were well up to retail level.

The paperweight section was also well received. Although there are European buyers, American interest is still an important feature here and the transatlantic element duly responded. Simon Cottle also achieved what he thought might even be a new auction high for a weight from the British firm of Bacchus when he knocked down a millefiori basket paperweight of c.1850 for £8000 to a private British buyer.

The weakest area of the sale, as it has been for some time, was the earlier Continental glass, particularly early Germanic pieces. To an extent this mirrors the performance of the works of art market in general where it is the earlier pieces, especially the medieval wood carving that is traditionally the preserve of German collectors, that is proving hardest to shift.

Even here though, there were some exceptions. A Dutch façon de Venise goblet of c.1680 with diamond point engraving attributed to Willem Mooleyser, featuring a man holding a wine glass and the calligraphic inscription Det Vellekonst Van de Vriden, was one of the day’s best sellers at £10,000. This piece had appeared as recently as last May at Woolley and Wallis’s sale of the Howard Phillips’ collection when, catalogued more cautiously as in the manner of Willem Mooleyser, it made £6000. That said, both results were lower than some of those paid in the 1989 Géupin sale for some similar “manner of Mooleyser” engraved glasses.

If the early Continental glasswares were proving sticky, later Continental wares appeared more attractive. Their broader decorative appeal attracts a bigger market, including Middle Eastern buyers, often via the London trade and those looking for an item with table power. There is always the possibility that estimates on these pieces might have looked more attractive by comparison to the guidelines of those in the Hida Takamaya sale the next day.

Certainly most of the 19th century glitzy, middle European entries at Olympia had little difficulty selling.
Colourful Middle Eastern inspired vases by the firm of Lobmeyr produced two notable results, both after telephone battles between two private European collectors. One 61/4in (17cm) high two-handled vase decorated with a band of Kufic and Isnik type flowers made £10,000.

The other, 8in (21cm) high, designed by Girdard and Rehlender with bolder flowers, took £8500. Both had minor chips. Perhaps even more notable was the price paid for the pair of 1890s vases from the less well known Harrach workshop pictured below. Again not in perfect condition, (both had regilt rims and one a rim repair) they nonetheless made £5500 against what Simon Cottle regarded as a bullish vendor-led estimate of £4000-6000.