1. David Bowie Starman recording – £4700
Although arguably David Bowie’s most iconic song, Starman was a late addition to The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Recorded on February 4, 1972 – three months after most of the album – it was a last-minute replacement for Round and Round, a Chuck Berry cover version.
When released as a single in April 1972, it gave Bowie his biggest hit since Space Odyssey in 1969.
This rare 8in Trident Studio acetate recording of Starman came for sale at Bishop & Miller (19% buyer’s premium) of Stowmarket on November 10 – entered by a vendor who was secretary to Bowie's manager Tony Defries. The record had been in her possession since February 1972.
Estimated at £1000-1500, it sold via the saleroom.com for £4700.
2. Bust of David Garrick – £6500
In its 18th century pomp, the Wedgwood factory produced a number of likenesses of David Garrick – the most famous actor and theatre producer of his day. At least two medallions and a small bust were made in the Wedgwood and Bentley period (1768-80) in black basalt ware.
Much more ambitious and harder to find is the larger than lifesize basalt bust of Garrick after the original attributed to John van Nost. Although it is missing its socle base, this example sold via the saleroom.com for an unexpected £6500 at Criterion Auctions (24% buyer’s premium) in London on November 12.
Standing 15in (38cm) high, even without its base, it is impressed with Wedgwood & Bentley marks and the name Garrick in capitals.
3. Manchester United chairman’s Olympic medal – £15,500
This gold medal from the 1908 London Olympics, awarded to a future chairman of Manchester United, sold via the saleroom.com for £15,500 at Mallams Oxford (24% buyer’s premium) on November 14.
Harold Hardman’s winner medal, that recalls his journey from amateur footballer and solicitor to chairman of the Red Devils in the era of the Busby Babes, was expected to bring £10,000-15,000.
The fourth modern Olympiad, held at short notice in London in 1908, was the first to include an official ‘association’ football tournament. Only eight teams entered the competition with the hosts beating Denmark 2-0 in the gold-medal match in front of 8000 fans at the White City Stadium on October 24. The number 11 for Great Britain, playing outside left, was Harold Payne Hardman (1882-1965).
Born in the Newton Heath area of Manchester, Hardman was first appointed a MUFC director in 1912 and served as chairman from 1951 until his death in 1965. During his tenure as chairman the club won four league titles and saw the creation of the famous 'Busby Babes' under the management of Sir Matt Busby.
4. Kangxi wucai poem cup – £160,000
A strong bid of £160,000 was taken for this Kangxi (1662-1722) mark and period famille verse wucai cup at the sale of Chinese works of art at Woolley & Wallis (25% buyer’s premium) in Salisbury on November 13.
Painted with a scene from a famous poem Chibi fu ('Ode to the Red Cliff’) by Su Shi (1037-1101), it depicts the Song poet and his friends visiting the famous naval battle site at Chibi with the reverse reading: 'I raised my wine cup and toasted my guests, joining them in chanting the Ode to the Bright Moon and the Song of Sylphs'. A seal reads ‘Elegance’.
This 2in (5cm) cup has a provenance to both John Sparks and then to Sydney L. Moss from where it was bought by an English private collector in 1963 for £60. The estimate was £30,000-50,000.
5. ‘Rockefeller' pattern dinner service – £115,000
Among the most coveted of the standard Chinese export designs is the so-called ‘Rockefeller' pattern or Palace ware.
The complex design, enamelled in famille rose colours with figures at leisure on terraces, in pavilion interiors and in rocky riverscapes, was a favourite of American collectors in the 1930s with John D Rockefeller Jnr the owner of an extensive service of this pattern. It sold as part of Christie’s massive dispersal sale in May this year for $200,000.
Two part-services of Jiaqing period Palace ware were offered at Dreweatts (25% buyer’s premium) of Donnington Priory on November 12. From a private family collection, they formed part of a large service of more than 140 pieces sold in Dublin on 1934 as part of ‘the valuable contents of Kilmoroney, Athy, Co. Kildare, by direction of Sir Anthony Weldon, Bart’.
The opening lot (pictured) comprised 62 pieces. In addition to 15 dinner plates, 14 dessert bowls and five side plates (some badly damaged) were a number of service pieces including a large oval two-handled soup tureen, two canted rectangular vegetable tureens and covers and a series of oval pierced baskets.
Despite the many condition issues listed in the catalogue it flew over its £10,000-15,000 estimate to reach £115,000.
The following lot of 28 pieces pitched at £3000-5000 took £44,000. Here 14 dinner plates and five dessert bowls were joined by large and small oval meat.