Auctioneers

The auction process is a key part of the secondary art and antiques market.

Firms of auctioneers usually specialise in a number of fields such as jewellery, ceramics, paintings, Asian art or coins but many also hold general sales where the goods available are not defined by a particular genre and are usually lower in value.

Auctioneers often provide other services such as probate and insurance valuations.

Bonham’s charming stopgap

26 April 1999

UK: IN common with a number of other London auctioneers, Bonhams (15/10 per cent buyer’s premium), were reserving their best quality Old Master consignments for July, but their April 13 sale in Knightsbridge did at least include the decorative charms of this 3ft 21/2in by 2ft 43/4in (98 x 73cm) canvas, illustrated here, of a young woman tending a bouquet of flowers, signed by the Italian-based still life specialist Abraham Brueghel (1631-1697).

Bullish US bear market

19 April 1999

UK: CONSIGNED by a Stockport couple who had been keen skiers during the 1950s, this late 19th century Black Forest carved hall seat, left, proved the unexpected highlight of Bonham’s (15/10 per cent buyer’s premium) sale of general antiques in Manchester on March 24.

Short’s Stygian Poison

19 April 1999

Bearnes, Exeter, March 23 Buyer’s premium: 15 per cent UK: HIGHLIGHTS of this sale included Thomas Short’s Comparative History of the Increase and Decrease of Mankind in England... and also a Meteorological Discourse, 1767, which, in the process of assembling historical and medical information, advocates early marriage and denounces alcohol as ‘a Stygian poison’. It sold at £100.

Hindlip’s best sale ever

19 April 1999

UK: CHRISTIE’S chairman Lord Hindlip has declared himself more excited about the prospect of selling the £20m plus collection of Nathaniel and Albert von Rothschild on July 8 than about any other sale in his 36 years at the auction house.

Bidder quintuples estimate on table he has waited for

19 April 1999

G.E. Sworder & Sons, Stansted Mountfitchet, March 16 Buyer’s premium: 10 per cent UK: "CERAMICS and collectables are usually well received by the trade, but at this 1000-lot sale they were met with a muted response, silver and jewellery were eagerly sought after while the furniture met with a keen response from trade and private buyers,” said auctioneer Guy Schooling.

‘Glenn Miller’ logbook sells for £19,000

19 April 1999

The flying logbook of Fred Shaw, an RCAF navigator, received quite a lot of media publicity when Sotheby’s Sussex announced its sale, because of a suggestion that it sheds light on the disappearance of bandleader Glenn Miller in December 1944.

Ted is torn twixt pulpit and easel

19 April 1999

Ewbank, Send, March 25 Buyer’s premium: 10 per cent UK: An amusing, illustrated letter sent by the 16-year-old Edward Coley Burne Jones to his aunt Amelia on May 7, 1849, topped this sale with a London bid of £880.

Phillips’ plans centre on a move up-market

12 April 1999

Blenheim St to Bond St UK: PHILLIPS’ London headquarters are to be transformed as part of a long-term strategic plan to take the company’s core business up-market.

Travelling set fit for a general

12 April 1999

UK: PROBABLY commissioned by General Charles Churchill – whose arms it bears – for his European campaigns after the Glorious Revolution of 1688, this William and Mary silver-gilt travelling set came up at Mellors & Kirk of Nottingham on March 25-26 where it sold privately at £48,000 (plus 10 per cent premium).

The cat’s whiskers

12 April 1999

US: How do you titillate an ocelot? You oscillate its tit a lot. Kenny Everett’s immortal insight into the sexual life of one of the obscurer members of the cat family is usually quite difficult to drag into an auction report. But how can titillation be resisted when someone is prepared to pay $525,000 (£324,075) for this painting of an ocelot at Sotheby’s New York (15/10 per cent buyer’s premium).

Frans Masereel and the woodcut novel

12 April 1999

US: ONE of 167 illustrations which make up Frans Masereel’s My Book of Hours, one of the woodcut novels pioneered by the Belgian political cartoonist in the early part of this century.

Holtzbecker’s reputation restored with a bid of £500,000

12 April 1999

UK: THE highlight of the Natural History sale held by Christie’s on March 17 – a lot which had its own separate catalogue – was the Moller Florilegium.

Mysterious Maria

12 April 1999

UK: Maria Szantho (b. 1898-?) was a Hungarian artist who specialised in glamour girl nudes which crop up with some regularity in the salerooms, generally at prices between £500-3000.

Blast from the past...

12 April 1999

UK: “PLACE the flattened end of the flagstaff in the socket made for it, then raise the hammer until it catches the base of the flag socket and remains upright: place a cap in the capholder and mount the soldiers along the trench.

A first glimpse of the Holy Land

12 April 1999

UK: ON March 23, Sotheby’s held their first ever sale devoted entirely to the Holy Land.

Merger aimed at Scottish sales gap

12 April 1999

UK: A NEW joint venture is hoping to fill the gap left by the closure of Christie’s Glasgow salerooms and Lyon and Turnbull’s Edinburgh auction business.

Jewel-studded stockbroker belt with an armorial silver star

12 April 1999

UK: WHEREAS auctioneers in less densely populated areas of the UK such as Scotland, Wales and the West Country, consistently lament the dearth of good quality consignments, this is not a common complaint at Hamptons’ Surrey saleroom.

Provenance of high order...

12 April 1999

US: THE BOOKS and manuscripts sold as part of a March 16 ‘Judaica’ sale held by Sotheby’s included material from the library of the late Alfred Rubens (1903-98), a distinguished historian and collector whose Jewish Iconography of 1954 became the ‘bible’ for scholars of Jewish prints.

Illuminated manuscript of religious meditations

05 April 1999

UK: “THE richness of the language in which this manuscript is written speaks redolently of the period, and of the writer himself,” said the Phillips cataloguer of an illuminated manuscript of religious meditations which sold at £4400 to Quaritch.

Bidders go Wilde

05 April 1999

UK: SIGNED cabinet photographs of Oscar and Constance Wilde flank one of their younger son, Vivian, which has been inscribed and dated 1891 to the reverse – although the well known portrait of Oscar is known to date from 1889.

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