There is never a shortage of buyers in August, except perhaps in the jewellery sections, where buyers desperation does really come to a head until later in the year. Sellers frequently worry that there will not be anyone there to buy their goods at this time of the year. On the contrary the usual scene is of a full saleroom impatient for enough stock to buy and so often punters leave empty handed.
It was the typical scene at Hartleys Summer event in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, on August 13th. Demand was strong but supply was on the weak side. Intense activity, including the inevitable phone lines, was focused around a smaller number of lots with the bullion price bolstering the silver and gold, and a couple of occasional specialist sections also helping to polarise demand.
The resulting total of £161,000 for 793 lots with just 18% by lot bought in was actually a good result for what was on offer. For instance, the ceramic section which started the sale, was dominated by just one lot, a Wedgwood Fairyland lustre vase and cover 11” high. The ageing vendor had succeeded in propelling it from the top of a corner cupboard resulting in a substantial 2” chip being removed from the rim of the lid. In spite of considerable restoration the price realised was a satisfying £2,100.
The silver sections were a completely different country with nearly everything selling, much of it both pre and post 1910 at a little above the current melt price of £6.50 per troy ounce. For instance a tea tray of 70ozs dated 1940 reached £540, and a 1925 four piece tea service of 57ozs £440.
Flatware however was still struggling to come anywhere near, and a somewhat tired composite flatware service dated 1863-73 reached £700 or only £4.11 per ounce. The more interesting end of the commodity selling irrespective of its weight told a different tale and for instance an 1878 card case found £90 (or £40 per ounce) and a George III wine funnel dated 1794 reached £200 or £48 per ounce.
Gold sovereigns were predictable with older circulated examples reaching £90 or more, while a 1989 proof example in capsule and presentation case was competed up to £470.
There were several bargains to be had in the jewellery with nothing over £1,000 getting away, and it was left to the watch section to provide this, in the shape of a standard gent’s Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust chronometer in 18ct gold and steel case which reached £1,100.
The honours in a brisker than normal picture section was almost entirely taken by the Yorkshire section. Before this two floral Mediterranean Scenes in watercolour by Edith Helena Adie reached £660 each and a Study of a Stable Interior after Morland by Charles Edward Wilson found £750.
Yorkshireman Geoff Birks produced several works including a pencil sketch ‘Industrial Canal Scene’ at £1,500, and a watercolour ‘Nowt to do’ at £1,550. Another late 20th century painter consistently producing good prices is Brian Shields (Braaq), this time with an oil painted Industrial Town Scene 15” x 22” which reached £5,400.
The other lot selected to grace the catalogue cover was a pair of French patinated bronze and gilt candelabra each with four branches 23” high, with some restoration, and these sold for £1,700.
The first specialist section was devoted to weapons and militaria, with a useful total of nearly £20,000. This included a Winchester 1866 model .44 calibre carbine in excellent condition selling for £2,300, a Colt .36 calibre police revolver £840, a flintlock volunteer dragoon pistol £925, a pair of Belgian percussion pistols in later case £1,350, and a double barrelled flintlock coaching pistol in less than good condition £1,150. The section also contained the oldest item in the sale, a very rusty Viking sword blade described as in ‘fragile badly corroded condition’, which still sold for £2,300, and the auctioneer’s favourites, a flintlock coaching blunderbuss with spring bayonet selling for £2,500, and another from the same vendor finding £1,550.
The second specialist section comprised garden and architectural items, the second outing of its type in the year, perhaps on the basis that in the spring (and summer) a young man’s fancy turns to gardening.
Whilst much of this section was a clearance of oddities of old stone and the like, nearly all of which sold readily, the star item was a much weathered marble figure of a female minus one arm which the somewhat diminutive vendor insisted on loading with difficulty into the auctioneer’s car. At the last minute the missing arm was produced (unweathered) from the kitchen drawer, and together they produced a six times upper estimate price of £5,800.
The clock section once again had its hot spot, this time with two lots. The first was a Tycos barograph by Short and Mason, dated 1926, which sold on one of several phone lines booked to reach £1,550.
The other was a longcase clock by Thomas Cantor, Manchester with eight day movement and painted dial which found £1,250.
This just left the furniture to be dealt with, and a run of old country items was mopped up by a North Yorkshire dealer who purchased two matching yew wood Windsor chairs at £520 each, an oak side table at £800, a wall cupboard for a straight piece of wall rather than a corner £540, a small oak gateleg table £580, and a much sought after 18th century cricket table £1,350.
Other note worthy furniture items were all from the Victorian era. They included a very smart burr walnut side cabinet boasting a variety of inlays which rose to £1,250, and from the same vendor, an Edwardian mahogany and inlaid display cabinet with concave glass side panels £1,300.From elsewhere came a Victorian rosewood centre table with ornate frieze and base £1,050, a mahogany dining table with exaggerated cabriole legs with facility to extend to 10 feet £2,900, a mahogany bureau-bookcase £1,050, a partners’ desk made by Coopers of Ilkley £1,350, and a mahogany and leaded light bookcase over 9ft wide and probably made from a larger original item £1,250. comments powered by Disqus