This fully restored 1935 Bugatti Type 57 Grand Raid Tourer sold at Tennants on May 13 for £450,000 (plus 10% buyer’s premium).

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The top grossing of the auction house’s 27 specialist departments were pictures (£2.1m), jewellery (£1.6m) and furniture (£1.3m), with a 1935 Bugatti tourer the firm’s best-selling lot at £450,000.

The new year has already got off to a strong start with record hammer sales in January of £960,000 – aided by the £220,000 Roger Casson library of polar exploration, travel and local history books.

With more than 85 auctions and further specialist standalone single-vendor sales scheduled this year, managing director Jeremy Pattison says: “I am optimistic for 2019 as prices and demand is strong.”

Already consigned are good named estates and collections – including one with jewellery by Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Tiffany, and art by Kyffin Williams, Sir Frank Brangwyn and Sydney Harpley.

Pattison told ATG the firm was seeing the fruits of investing in its digital offering, with a new website launched in October, and is continuing to develop its programme of events at the Garden Rooms extension.

Exhibitions of work by William Morris and an important private collection of antique quilts are planned for this year.

Positive year

As reported in ATG No 2376, some spectacular individual sales helped much of the elite of Britain and Ireland’s regional fine art auction houses to a largely positive 2018.

Woolley & Wallis of Salisbury regained the top spot it has held for much of the past decade with a hammer turnover from January to December 2018 of £19.82m.

The greatest change to the established hierarchy was the arrival of Chiswick Auctions of west London with sales in the calendar year of £14m – up from around £9m.