1. Bow model of red squirrel – £20,000
Estimated at £7000-10,000, this very rare Bow model of a red squirrel, c.1760-65, sold for £20,000 at Bonhams’ Fine Ceramics and Glass sale in Knightsbridge on September 29.
As the item was imported from outside the EU, a tax of 5% was due on the hammer price and the buyer’s premium.
Naturalistically modelled, and near life-size at 8.5in (21cm) high, this model seems to be based on a white Chelsea model produced during the Triangle Period that in turn was probably derived from a Meissen original.
A very similar pair of Bow squirrels is illustrated by Frank Stoner’s Chelsea, Bow and Derby Porcelain Figures (1955) while the four-footed scrolling base is one known on a number of Bow figures of the period.
2. 14th century bronze aquamanile – £140,000
Bronze aquamaniles, an important status symbol in courtly medieval Europe used to pour water over the hands of guests or celebrants, take a variety of forms. However by far the most popular was the lion, symbol of strength and royal authority.
Most of the German lion aquamaniles take as their prototype the Brunswick Lion originally erected in front of the cathedral by Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, in around 1166.
This 12in (30cm) high example, dated to the 14th century, came for sale at Hermann Historica in Greding, Bavaria on September 25.
Small holes at the root of the tail and the feet of both hind legs were drilled in 2014 when a metal sample was collected by the Institute for Materials Science in Wiesbaden. The alloy analysis, x-ray images and a thermoluminescence report determined the piece was cast approximately 620 years ago.
It sold to a buyer via thesaleroom.com at €155,000 (£140,000).
It is thought that most aquamaniles and their accompanying basins were made in the much cheaper medium of pottery, but only a tiny number of these have survived.
3. Colored Troops Medal – £7000
This rare award, a Colored Troops Medal or Butler Medal of 1864, was offered at the Medals & Coins, Arms & Armour Militaria sale at Woolley & Wallis in Salisbury on September 23.
Struck at the Philadelphia Mint and mounted by Bigelow & Kennard of Boston, these medals were issued by the Union General Benjamin Butler to members of the African American battalions that fought under his command at The Battle of Chaffin's Farm and Newmarket Heights on September 29 and 30, 1864.
Butler – who read the battlefield reports with great care – was moved to commission this medal, a hybrid of campaign and gallantry award, to honour an estimated 197 selected men.
It comes with a printed card reading: This medal I designed and caused to be struck in memory of the valiant charge of the Coloured Troops at New Market Heights and Chaffins Farm on that day......Please accept this as the First and only Medal ever struck to commemorate the bravery of Negro Soldiers by the white man.... You know how well deserved.
Offered with an estimate of £8000-12,000, it got away at the just below expectations at £7000.
The recipient of this Salisbury Butler medal was unknown. The example sold by Skinner in Marlborough, Massachusetts in 2017 for $17,000 was identified through the inscription reading: I present this medal of my husband to Samuel B. Bancroft Lt. 38th NYCT for his Bravery in the War of 1861 and many Kindnesses to the Widow of his dead comrade Margret Minetar Buffalo, NY 1881.
4. Victorian butter crock – £2400
A small group of Victorian transfer printed stoneware jars offered by Taylor’s in Montrose on September 16 included this 7.5in (18cm) butter crock with the logo of the Lothians Dairy Co of Slate Ford Road, Edinburgh.
Probably made by the Buchan factory in Portobello, its large and detailed pictorial of a cow makes it one of the finest and rarest pieces in the collecting field. A related Lothians Dairy Buchan cream pot with a similar transfer is also a valuable piece.
It was not in perfect condition (the Montrose crock had two small and one larger chip) but it raced away from the £100-200 estimate to sell at £2400.
By way of comparison, a similar piece in slightly better condition had sold for £2500 at Yorkshire bottle and advertising specialist BBR in February.
5. Pair of Portuguese paintings – £12,000
The sale at Henry Adams in Chichester on September 24 included two unsigned oils attributed to the Portuguese painter António Carvalho de Silva Porto (1850-93). They sold well over hopes at £12,000 (estimate £300-500).
Both painted on board, verso they were stamped and dated 1893 – indicating they were part of a studio sale held after the artist’s untimely death.
One depicted a view across fields, the other figures washing in a river.
Porto, who studied in Paris, returned home with fellow artist João Marques de Oliveira in 1879 as a disciple of the Barbican School.