1. Ottoman beads
Although catalogued as amber, these Ottoman beads offered by Gorringes of Lewes on March 12 are more probably a form of synthetic resin: faturan. The bead carvers in Istanbul – makers of the garlands of beads known as tesbih and komboloi – were swift to appreciate the potential of Bakelite c.1910. They made their own, mixing it with dyes, powdered amber and other additives to achieve the desired result. Secret recipes were jealously guarded. This particular string, with its perfectly uniform cherry amber beads, carved centrepiece (or imame) and silk tassel with gold wire, has many of the stylistic hallmarks of the Ottoman master Ulvi Iskender. Estimated at £1000-1500, it sold to a bidder on thesaleroom.com who won out at £22,000 (plus premium).
2. An Arts and Crafts Wedgwood vase and cover
Although catalogued as Dutch, this 3ft (91cm) high vase and cover offered for sale at Chichester saleroom Stride & Son on March 8 was almost certainly the work of Arts and Crafts pioneers Alfred and Louise Powell. The husband and wife team were celebrated designers for Wedgwood, hand painting thousands of pieces themselves either in Staffordshire or from their Cotswolds studio, a long thatched roofed building in Tarlton, Cirencester.
This very large vase, with a bold landscape decoration and typical borders of flowers and leaves, is fully signed to the base and dated Etruria 1927. A monumental piece, blighted only by cracks to the base, it improved upon hopes of £40-60 to bring £4600 from a bidder using thesaleoom.com.
3. Italian marble sculptures
Topping Sworders’ sale in Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex on March 12 was this pair of 19th century Italian marble sculptures of a winged girl and a boy holding a dove, emblematic of Peace and Innocence. Each standing around 2ft 4in (70cm) high, both are inscribed to the base Pio Fedi Scolpi in Firenze nell anno 1884. Based at a studio at 89 Via de Serragli in Florence, Pio Fedi (1815-92) worked chiefly in the Romantic style. His best-known work is his sculpture of the Rape of Polyxena, or Pyrrhus and Polyxena (unveiled 1866), in the Loggie dei Lanzi. Modestly estimated at £3000-5000, the pair sold to a bidder on thesaleroom.com at £17,000.
4. White Star Line dish
The romance that surrounds the golden era of travel and the great ocean liners can often spill into the auction room. This otherwise unexceptional Staffordshire transfer printed pottery hors d'oeuvres dish would be worth perhaps £1 without the addition of the logo of the White Star Line. Despite its poor condition, including a two large rim chips and a hairline crack, it generated fierce competition among White Star collectors at Carmarthen saleroom Peter Francis ultimately selling via thesaleroom.com at £550 – way over the £10-20 estimate.
5. A pair of 19th century samplers by siblings
Alongside the tradition variables of date, condition and craftsmanship, sentiment is an important factor in the commercial worth of a sampler. Or two samplers.
Estimated at just £40-60, these two early 19th century samplers sold to a bidder using thesaleroom.com for £6200 at Philip Serrell, Malvern on March 7. Key to their appeal is that they are a true pair created by siblings. Both finely worked to a similar design incorporating the alphabet, numbers, flowers, birds and verses, one is named Mary Ann Rollings aged 14 years 1806, the other Christian Rollings aged 10 years 1806. Although both had holes, the colours remained strong.
6. The Doors and Jefferson Airplane UK tour poster
Something of an ‘I was there’ moment in the history of rock music was the gig played at the Roundhouse, London by The Doors and Jefferson Airplane on September 6-7, 1968. Although Jim Morrison’s rock star status was well and truly in flight, the dates were among only a handful of UK shows The Doors ever performed. This original poster advertising the event has obvious signs of wear but is a great rarity. At the March 12 sale held by Merseyside rock and pop memorabilia specialist Omega Auctions, it sold to a bidder using thesaleroom.com at £8000 (estimate £800-1200).