Smith’s August sale was slightly smaller than usual, probably due in most part to the exceptionally hot weather as well as staff holidays and a daunting number of local roadworks. However, the 700 lots on offer enjoyed plenty of space and possibly more attention, especially since there were not many other auctions online that day to compete for buyers’ attention.
Top price of the day was made by an Arts & Crafts copper framed mirror with embossed stylised floral decoration and Ruskin ceramic insets. Although unmarked, it seems the mirror may have been originally retailed by Liberty’s and it sold for £920 after a substantial amount of interest online. In fact many items in the sale left their estimates far behind, including two 1930s Sylvac rabbits which sold for a surprising £210 against a £20/£40 estimate. Also in the ceramics section a pair of Victorian floral painted comports made £170 against a £30/£50 estimate and a selection of antique and later Chinese vases, which were mostly damaged or had lids missing, still managed to triple or even quadruple their estimates.
Silver and jewellery are selling particularly well at present which might seem surprising in the current economic environment. A pair of pearl and diamond cluster earrings made £780 whilst a vintage diamond cluster ring sold well above estimate at £760. A beautiful Victorian gold brooch inset coloured stones in the form of a pansy sold to a collector for £400 and an Arts & Crafts silver and enamel pendant doubled it’s estimate at £200. Elsewhere the costume jewellery seemed very popular with strong competition forcing some lots to make exceptional prices.
A fine silver and enamel Art Nouveau cigarette case decorated with a beautiful woman after Alphonse Mucha sold for £500 whilst a large number of small silver collectables sold very well both on the internet and in the room.
In the collectables section the auctioneers were delighted when a collectable ‘ILO’ oil can made £170 against an £80/£120 estimate and a Liberty’s furniture catalogue from around 1910 made £120 against a modest £30/£50. An amusing Austrian cold painted spelter parrot form inkwell attracted a number of buyers with his comical and slightly grumpy expression. He made £150 against an £80/£120 estimate. With very strong prices throughout this section the results emphasize that small collectables seem to be the current strong point in the market.
The furniture section also provided some surprising results with traditional dark dining room furniture struggling to get away, whilst a rustic Victorian pine dining table did well at £330. This is a direct indication of how dining habits have changed over the years with many people now dining in the kitchen and not having a formal dining room for entertaining. A Chinese cocktail cabinet which failed to sell last sale made £170 to a buyer in China and a pair of unusual Victorian funeral mirrors made £150 against a £30/£50 estimate. Interestingly a pair of vintage shop display cabinets which failed to sell in the last sale for £100 now made over £300 each.
Smiths are now accepting entries for their September 29 and 30 sale including silver, jewellery, furniture, pictures, ceramics, glass and collectables. The sale also includes a specialist section for Stamps and Postcards with final stamp entries invited before August 31.
Please visit www.smithsnewentauctions.co.uk for further information or telephone 01531 821776 for an appointment.