Continental silver-mounted wood pipe bowl – £800 at Bellmans.

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The Wisborough Green saleroom’s May 25-27 auction began with 600 pipes consigned by the descendants of Charles Finch, who collected them during his rise to the top of a major tobacco company from 1913-47.

First of the 83 lots of mainly meerschaum or wood pipes was a 19th century carved wood and silver-mounted Continental pipe bowl. Carved as a pulpit with knights between columns, it was pitched at £150-250 and sold to an Italian bidder at £800.


A 19th century porcelain opium pipe – £20,000 at Bellmans.

On the final day the Asian lots included the 19th century porcelain opium pipe from the Finch collection.

Featuring enamelled figures in a landscape and a frog and carved with flowers and gourds to the ivory ends, the 22in (56cm) long pipe had a later terracotta bowl with a signature.

There was some minor wear but against a £1000-1500, it went back to China at £20,000.

Churchill souvenir

The cigar stub, inevitably, was a Churchillian souvenir.

The £7000-10,000 estimates on each of the great man’s three c.1960 brandy balloon glasses had proved too strong for bidders but there were no problems for his stogie.

It had been picked up by his police escort, Arthur Church, who wrapped it in a note, now on three pieces of paper, reading Thrown Away Tuesday Sept *** 194* by Rt Hon Winston Churchill.

Consigned by the vigilant policeman’s grandson, it was estimated at £800-1200 and sold to a UK private at £3500.


Gustavian sofa bed – £4800 at Bellmans.

Other sections added to the surprises, notably a 19th century Scandinavian pine Gustavian sofa bed and a late 19th or early 20th century German Noah’s Ark.

The 6ft 7in (2m) wide polychrome painted sofa, in the sort of pared-back Louis XVI style which Gustav III had admired at Versailles, converted into a double bed via a hinged folding back and extending frieze.

It needed some work and a good clean but sold to the UK trade at £4800 against a £600-900 estimate.


A 19th/20th century Noah’s Ark – £3500 at Bellmans.

The 21in (54cm) long ark came with with five carved and painted wooden figures of Noah and his family and 64 animals.

Many of these were damaged, hence the modest £200-400 estimate, but the ark went to a UK collector at £3500.