A 17th century Spanish rug – £3000 at Mallams Abingdon.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Bidders accepted the condition as reasonable for a 17th century floor covering and the 9ft 10in x 5ft 3in (2.7 x 1.6m) yellow rug with faded blue pattern sold at £3000 via

Also faded and suffering some losses commensurate with age, a George III single-compartment, green-stained tortoiseshell tea caddy went well above hopes.

Green caddies were rated less highly than brown ones in their day (they used turtleshell of an otherwise weak colour) and fewer seem to have been made. Now, having the attraction of comparative rarity. they are sought by collectors and this example, estimated at £200-500, sold online at £1900.

Early calculator


Curta Calculator – £450 at Mallams Abingdon.

Younger by three or four centuries but more out of date than either was a cutting-edge mechanical pocket calculator from c.1959. The Curta Calculator Type 1 was designed by Austrian engineer Curta Herzstark (1902-88) who had worked on compact calculators during the Second World War.

Small enough to fit in the palm of the hand, its shape and function earned it the civilian nicknames of ‘pepper grinder’ or ‘maths grenade’. Quite a few of these survive.

At Abingdon it sold online just above top estimate for £450.