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.

Smit and Wolf switch roles when dealing with big cats

26 February 2001

UK: ILLUSTRATED on the front page of last week’s Antiques Trade Gazette was one of of 79 coloured litho plates by Smit and Keulemans after the original charcoal drawings by Joseph Wolf, the brilliant ornithological artist to whose “unrivalled talent” Daniel Giraud Eliot dedicated his two volume Monograph of the Phasianidae, or Family of the Pheasants of 1870-72.

Alexandre Iacovleff’s Dessins et Peintures d’Afrique

26 February 2001

UK: ONE of 50 coloured illustrations from Alexandre Iacovleff’s Dessins et Peintures d’Afrique of 1927, which sold for £800. One of 100 copies, it comprised a text volume in leather-backed satin covers painted with an African design and a pigskin portfolio containing the loose plates.

Another cursed by the Midas Touch

26 February 2001

UK: WHAT is so extraordinary about a stuffed fish, you might ask? Well, in the annals of piscatoria, they do not come much rarer than this golden roach – taken from the River Frays on October 8, 1911 and offered at Phillips Bayswater on February 20, 2001.

Spencelayh leads a gold mine’s motherlode

26 February 2001

UK: A COUPLE of weeks ago the Antiques Trade Gazette recorded the sale of the Joe Marshall Collection which put an extra sheen on the January sales at Sotheby’s South (15/10 per cent buyer’s premium). Among the goldmine of antiques veteran dealer Mr Marshall had shown Billingshurst chairman Tim Wonnacott in 1996, in a secret vault at his Blackburn shop, were a couple of oils by Charles Spencelayh R.M.S. (1865-1958) one of which was Mother shown here, which led the sale.

Dracula’s issue and more Hobbits found in New Bond Street

26 February 2001

UK: THE FIRST Phillips sale of the year gets a largely pictorial treatment here, but not everything that I selected for report was illustrated in the catalogue and a number of other highlights are described elsewhere (see "Job lots with a difference", above).

Job lots with a difference

26 February 2001

UK: GETTING on for 100 lots in the Phillips sale of February 16 comprised books from one private English collection that were characterised by smart and expensive bindings. Job lots were common but I have illustrated one lot that contained just two books, on a related theme and in matching bindings, and have picked out a few others that presented only one or two of the more valuable books each, but which were unfortunately not to be found among the composite illustrations used in the catalogue.

Broadcast bid for Seven Pillars…

26 February 2001

UK: THE copy of T.E. Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom offered by Lyon & Turnbull of Edinburgh on February 17 was one of the 170 or so signed, “complete” copies of the privately printed, subscribers’ edition of 1926 and in the original brown morocco binding, illustrated here.

19th century rules world of ceramics

26 February 2001

UK: THE hottest property in Dreweatt Neate’s, Newbury, January auction of ceramic and glass, was late 19th century decorative porcelain. “You cannot have enough late 19th century in your sales these days,” said specialist Geoffrey Stafford Charles. Strong prices were paid for Mason’s ironstone and Oriental porcelain of this period, but a turn-of-the-century Coalport blue ground part dessert service took the biggest money.

$280,000 Fragonard sketch

26 February 2001

US: OVERLOOKED in our recent report on the New York Old Master sales, this Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806) oil sketch for a much-admired, but now lost painting of The Visitation is worth putting on the record after it fetched an upper estimate $280,000 (£197,185) at the New York rooms of Doyle’s (15/10 per cent buyer’s premium) on January 24.

Wellington – soldier of the right fibre

26 February 2001

UK: SUCH has been the surge in popularity of English samplers and related textiles over the past few years (driven largely by American collectors who can no longer afford their own folk art) that any picture with even a hint of natural fibre is guaranteed to attract interest at auction.

Via Crucis

26 February 2001

UK: ONE of the scarcer plate collections in the Phillips sale was Via Crucis, novellamente eretta nell’ Atrio del Santissimo Crocifisso della chiesa parochiale, e collegiata di S.Polo. Engraved throughout, this small quarto Venetian volume of c.1780 comprises 16 full-page illustrations of the Stations of the Cross by Leonardis after Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, plus 29 pages of text.

Collection heralds top prices

19 February 2001

UK: A 44-lot collection of books and manuscripts on heraldry was a feature of the January 31 sale held by Dominic Winter.

Furniture buyers bid on only the better pieces

19 February 2001

American connection revolutionises a jug’s prospects UK: LOOKING at current trends in the furniture market, auctioneer Patrick Toynbee remarked on the reluctance among buyers for “run of the mill” pieces, with the preference now being for high-quality attractive pieces.

Revolutionary freesheets and a note from the King of Siam

19 February 2001

UK: ONE of a group of seven newspapers, plus a printed edict, issued in March 1917, at the outbreak of the Russian revolution, which sold for £400 (Hanson). They were apparently distributed free in the streets of Petrograd and these copies were acquired by Gertrude Hitchcock, who was there working for a British engineering company at the time.

Collectors show their colours in battles for rare royals

19 February 2001

UK: THE market for commemorative ceramics proved to be strong at the Manchester rooms of Capes Dunn when two 1911 Royal Doulton beakers marking the Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary were offered.

Izannah Walker’s Painted Ladies

19 February 2001

US: AN IZANNAH WALKER doll from Rhode Island was the star turn in a Toys & Collectables sale held on December 9 in the Bolton (Massachusetts) rooms of Skinners and brought a bid of $21,000 (£14,480). Made around 1870, the 18in (46cm) tall doll illustrated right, wearing a grey-green plaid dress of silk taffeta, and with a pair of period ice skates with red leather straps strung over her shoulder, has an oil painted cloth body – even the hands and face are made of painted cloth.

Wodehouse's The Pothunters

19 February 2001

UK: SERIALISED in Public School magazine before appearing in book form in 1902, The Pothunters was P.G. Wodehouse’s first book, and this first issue copy in royal blue cloth with silver gilt decoration made £720 (Marchpane) in Swindon.

Trade pushed to top bids by keen collectors

19 February 2001

UK: THE scarcity of good-quality, untouched country furniture, even in such rich fields as Oxfordshire, and the increasingly selective attitude of bidders – becoming “more selective by the sale”, according to Mallams auctioneer Ben Lloyd – are causes of concern for auctioneers across the country.

Dick Francis' Dead Cert

19 February 2001

UK: THE title page had a semi-circular portion excised from the outer margin, but this copy of the 1962 first of Dick Francis’ annual racing thrillers, Dead Cert, had a jacket and it sold for £2050 to Bromlea & Jonkers at Dominic Winter's sale held on January 31.

The Mysteries of Alchemy

19 February 2001

UK: THE English Literature and History sale held by Sotheby’s on December 19 opened in unexpectedly dramatic fashion when an English alchemical manuscript drawn up in 1624 by Leonard Smethley, miraculously transmuted an estimate of £6000-8000 into something just as welcome as the gold or silver that ancient practitioners hoped for – a huge bid of £180,000!

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