Fabergé silver elephant table lighter, £21,000 at Tennants.

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Naturalistically modelled, the head is hinged to reveal a well for fluid and the trunk hollow to take a wick.

Fabergé produced a menagerie of zoomorphic table-lighters, many (like this one assayed to the tail and an ear) carrying the mark of the St Petersburg workmaster Julius Rappoport. The lighter was once in the collection of Stanley Elliott (1892-1956), a mine owner and property landlord from Wakefield who was a lifelong pipe and cigar smoker.

Relatively little paperwork survives in the family archives for the works of art and chattels he bought to furnish Ingle Court, the house he built in Lepton, near Huddersfield, in 1932. However, an invoice dated May 2, 1935, for various items from Old Russia Antiques and Jewellery of St Catherine Street West, Montreal, may include its purchase.


Fabergé silver elephant table lighter, £21,000 at Tennants.

Other comparable silver animal lighters made by Rappoport for Fabergé sold at London auctions in recent years include: a chimpanzee (£32,000 at Sotheby’s, December 2020); a frog (£20,000 at Christie’s, June 2018); a reclining bear (£28,000 at Christie’s, November 2013); and a rhinoceros (£38,000 at Sotheby’s, June 2019).

Tennants’ pachyderm, guided at £6000-9000, sold at £21,000.


Cartier diamond set enamel bell push timepiece, £7000 at Tennants.

Another deluxe object of vertu appealing to a similar taste in the Spring Fine Sale was a diamond set blue guilloche enamel bell push timepiece, signed Cartier. It was estimated at £3000-5000 and took £7000.

A technological marvel of the day (c.1910), depressing the dial section would have activated the electrical contacts (the components now missing) and sounded a servant’s bell.

These are rare although a similar example sold at Sotheby’s New York in 2022 for $26,460.

More of the 290 lots from this £712,190 sale (that included the £15,000 George III silver wine jug pictured on the front cover of ATG No 2586) will be reported in a future issue.