The remarkable McKenzie collection – in total more than 4000 vestas – was stored in 38 cardboard boxes when first seen by specialist Alex Butcher two years ago. The first tranche of 2700 vestas was sold in January 2017, shortly before Patricia McKenzie died.
The 1300 examples offered in 400 lots on January 15, represented an equally varied selection including many of the popular silver and enamel boxes, examples in gold and other figural models in brass, tin, porcelain and glass.
The English silver and enamel boxes by Sampson Mordan & Co and its contemporaries typically represent the pinnacle of this collecting field. So it proved when a rectangular box enamelled with a mounted Hussar in a hilly landscape (London 1892) sold at £1550.
Another Mordan box, enamelled with a coaching scene (London 1887) took £780 while a similar box by Stokes & Ireland (Birmingham 1894) carrying a scene of a lady golfer, her caddy and crossed clubs with a ball was a predictable cross-collecting favourite at £520.
However, some of the surprises of the sale were paid for the novelty brass and plated brass boxes produced c.1900 in Meiji period Japan. An example in the form of a rodent took £620 while another of a geisha took £400.
One of a number of boxes from the Naughty Nineties was a rare nickel plated box with a spring-loaded cover powering a concealed three-colour gilt metal erotic automaton. It took £1000.