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‘Replica’ bottle is real deal at £18,000

A Yorkshire collector who bought what he thought was a replica antique bottle at a fair for just £30 has sold it for a hammer price of £18,000 at auction after discovering it really was from the 17th century.

Purchased at the Doncaster Antiques Fair, a subsequent Facebook post led to the suggestion that it might be the real thing and he decided to consign it to auction at BBR in Elsecar on July 8 (see ATG No 2347).

The seal on the bottle carries the initials GR, a cruciform and the date 1682. BBR proprietor Alan Blakeman said, before the July 8 sale, that the only similar ‘transitional’ sealed shaft and globe with a distinctive broad rim sold at auction was one bearing the initials TL below the date 1686. That example sold for a premium-inclusive £21,250 at Bonhams in November 2014.

It is a very similar price to this recent example at BBR which sold at £21,470 including buyer’s premium.

New chief tech officer joins ATG

Auction Technology Group (ATG) – parent company of Antiques Trade Gazette and thesaleroom.com – has hired a new chief technology officer.

Badr Khan joins from the luxury fashion website matchesfashion.com, where he was head of engineering.

He joins recent recruits Tom Hargreaves, the firm’s chief financial officer, based in London, and Eric Koenig, who is running the North American business of ATG.

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2 Menu signed by all four Beatles from a flight when getting high was the refreshment

3 ‘Nazi-loot’ claim over $250m Guelph Treasure can go to trial in US federal court

4 The £30 bottle once thought to be fake is now the real auction deal at £18,000

5 Soviet spy camera disguised as fag packet sells for £29,000 house record at Dudley auction

Thaw estate comes to auction in the US

Works from his estate of Eugene V Thaw, a well-known dealer and collector who died in January, will be auctioned at Christie’s in a series of sales starting in October.

His client list featured billionaire collectors such as Paul Mellon and Norton Simon, as well as museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago.


The late dealer and collector Eugene V Thaw.

Thaw started out aged 23 and went on to become one of the most respected dealers of his generation. But he was also an avid collector too, buying in a range of different sectors and price points.

Following his death, a group of 200 lots from the varied collection he assembled with his wife Clare, who passed away six month earlier, has now been consigned to Christie’s. Expected to raise more than $10m, the consignment will be split between a dedicated single- owner auction in New York on October 30 and across nine separate mixed sales.

Though Thaw dealt primarily in European pictures, his extensive personal collection ranged from ancient Eurasian bronzes, medieval works of art, Native American art, books, decorative arts, architectural models and drawings.

William Morris' pen and brush sold

A quill and paint brush belonging to William Morris drew significant interest at Duke’s latest Art and Design sale in Dorchester, selling to a London buyer at £2200 (plus 25% buyer's premium).


A quill and paint brush belonging to William Morris sold for £2200 at Duke’s.

It came to the July 19 auction from a descendant of Sir Emery Walker (1851-1933), the typographer, printer and founder of the Doves Press who, like Morris, was a major figure in the British Arts & Crafts movement.

The pen itself was made by Charles Roberson and Company, the London supplier of artists' materials where Morris was a regular customer and it came with an attached label in the hand of Walker's daughter Dorothy, stating it was William Morris’ pen.

Cotswolds fair now has February slot

The dates of the Cotswolds Art & Antiques Dealers’ Association Fair have been moved from its usual April slot to February next year. The change was effected after a scheduling clash at the fair’s venue, Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.

Participating dealers were given a chance to make their views known on alternative dates, and the event will now take place from February 21-24.

Summit hears of blockchain boon

Tracking art market transactions, the movement of art and provenance verification could be aided by the new technology blockchain, delegates heard at Christie’s Art + Tech Summit last week.

But they also heard it is still early days and caution is needed. Blockchain, effectively an online public ledger that can record data or transactions that is difficult to hack, forge or amend, is still in its infancy.

Jonathan Kewley, a lawyer at Clifford Chance, told delegates at the event in Christie’s King Street premises: “I think blockchain will help the art market. Not a full facelift but maybe some subtle botox.”

In Numbers

3hrs 59m

The length of time the House of Lords spent debating the Second Reading of the ivory bill on July 17, with 24 members of the upper chamber making speeches.


In the watch feature in ATG No 2250 dated July 14, reference was made to the impact of the record-breaking £13.5m sale of Paul Newman’s own Rolex Daytona on the prices of other Daytona wristwatches.

We suggested the ‘overnight' rise in prices for similar watches was “unforeseen,” attributing this observation to Chris Mann, founder of the watch collector website and events organiser Time 4A Pint (whom we interviewed for the feature).

We would like to point out that Mann in fact believes the price change to be a predictable reflection of increased demand that followed the setting of a benchmark price at auction. We apologise for the error.