Features


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Armour through the ages: three lots commanding bids in winter sales

20 January 2020

Rare and well-preserved armour from pre-history to the 17th century was well received in the pre-Christmas sales. Three examples are pictured here.

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Go for a Gatling to get bling for your bucks

20 January 2020

Any museum or collector seeking a centrepiece for their display need look no further than the Gatling gun – a pivotal invention that makes its presence felt by its sheer size and bling.

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Five examples showing how exotic Eastern blades remain a key fixture at auction

20 January 2020

Edged weapons from the East continue to feature regularly among the top lots in auctions across the world. Awareness of the rich array of culturally-significant weapons to be found in Western collections has grown as internet technology reaches a new international audience.

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Acting class – Impressive dealers' collection sold at Bonhams

20 January 2020

The impressive arms offered in London from a dealership which supplied weapons for many films were far from being just theatrical props

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Holts heads home to the rural charm of Norfolk

20 January 2020

December 10 marked a significant step in the history of specialist sporting and antique gun auction house Holts (25-20% buyer’s premium).

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Rock Island auction goes supersize

20 January 2020

If proof were needed that firearms sales are simply conducted on a completely different scale in the US, one need look no further than the three-day sale at Rock Island Auctions (18.5% buyer’s premium) in Illinois on December 6-8.

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Stone Age weapons at the cutting edge of early technology

20 January 2020

One fascinating section of a recent Thomas Del Mar (25% buyer’s premium) sale featured Stone Age and Viking weapons and artefacts from a European private collection.

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The scientific side of collecting: author explains her passion for Chinese export porcelain

20 January 2020

Shirley Mueller is a US neuroscientist, author and Asian art collector focused on Chinese export porcelain. Her book 'Inside the Head of a Collector: Neuropsychological Forces at Play' has recently been published.

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Sabres suggest the swashbuckling world of Hornblower

20 January 2020

Two spectacular early-19th century British presentation sabres have turned up in the salerooms recently, one in London and the other in Munich.

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Electroplated cups marked for Evan Jones of Sydney turn up in Hampshire

13 January 2020

This pair of 19th century electroplated cups, offered by Andrew Smith & Son (21% buyer’s premium) in Alresford on December 11, is stamped for the noted Sydney silversmith Evan Jones (1846-1917).

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Christie’s sells David Little's pre-civil war silver collection

13 January 2020

It took just one sale to disperse a collection of pre-civil war silver painstakingly amassed in just over a quarter of a century at the rate of one piece a year.

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The bell tolls for two prize silver porkers

13 January 2020

Edwardian silver table bells modelled as tortoises are not too hard to find but silver pigs are a much rarer beast. Accordingly, it was surprising to see two appear on two successive days at winter sales.

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Medieval drinking vessel takes £4400 at Mitchells

13 January 2020

Originally medieval drinking vessels, wassail bowls became highly decorative status symbols by the 19th century as this large silver-mounted walnut example shows.

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Hastings silver leaves its native Norfolk

13 January 2020

The sale at Cheffins (22.5% buyer’s premium) in Cambridge on December 12 included a cache of Victorian and earlier silver from the collection of Delaval Astley, 23rd Baron Hastings (b.1960).

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Dresser’s genius brings happy returns

13 January 2020

The Design sale at Christie’s New York (25/20% buyer’s premium) on December 13 included the return to the auction room of one of the famous series of electroplated teapots made by James Dixon & Sons, Sheffield, c.1879, to designs by Christopher Dresser.

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Remarkable mustard pots from Shennan collection turn heads at Evesham sale

13 January 2020

The sale at Kingham & Orme (20% buyer’s premium) in Evesham on December 6-7 included the second instalment of the remarkable Shennan collection of silver mustard pots, this time featuring examples made in the reigns of George IV to Victoria (1821-1901).

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Novelty silver pin cushions take flight

13 January 2020

Pin cushions have their own niche market in the novelty silver field. Nineteen Edwardian examples were offered at a sale at Woolley & Wallis (25% buyer’s premium) in Salisbury last year.

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The tale of the Warwick vase told in many sizes

13 January 2020

Although turned down at the time by the British Museum, a 2nd century vase with Bacchic ornament found by Gavin Hamilton near Hadrian’s villa in Tivoli c.1771 proved a sensation with 18th century connoisseurs.

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Norwegian silver brudekrone pays a visit to Canterbury

13 January 2020

An atypical visitor to a recent sale at Canterbury Auction Galleries (24% buyer’s premium) was a Norwegian silver gilt brudekrone dating from the late 18th or early 19th century.

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Youghal basting spoon draws interest in Salisbury

13 January 2020

Alongside pieces made in Kinsale, Galway and Waterford, silver from the small County Cork town of Youghal is among the scarcest of all Irish provincial silver. Only a handful of pieces survive that carry the punning town mark of a yawl.

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