Previous News - Auction in Kent's link to worldwide web of antiques buyers


Record online bidding boosts prices in Two Day Sale at The Canterbury Auction Galleries Bids approaching £429,000 were registered in the October Two Day Sale at The Canterbury Auction Galleries with more than a quarter of the fine art and antiques sold to worldwide buyers on the Internet, a record for the saleroom. Auctioneer Tony Pratt said 302 lots were sold to online bidders for a total of £113,000 - the best ever figures - with buyers coming from Australia, Singapore, Japan, Turkey and Malta. The most valuable single piece which fell to an online bidder was a rare Chinese Imperial porcelain jardinière, from a Folkestone home, which sold to a collector in mainland China for £20,000. In addition, more than 120 registered telephone bidders from China, Australia, Canada, USA, Portugal, Spain and Belarus competed with 190 commission bidders who left bids on 588 lots. “This was our most successful sale yet in terms of doing business with absentee buyers and yet the saleroom was full on both days,” Tony Pratt said. There was a great atmosphere in the room and a great deal of trade buying across the board, including one dealer who was buying furniture for containers bound for the Continent.” The Chinese jardinière was just one of a number of high value Asian antiques, the pick of which had been sent for sale by the same Kent collector. Modelled as a butterfly in profile, the “Famille Rose” jardinière was decorated in a vibrant bright yellow ground favoured by the Imperial court and enamelled in colours around the sides with a profusion of brightly coloured butterflies in flight. It dated from the Qing Dynasty, Tongzhi period (1856-1875), and was thought to be a part of the same unique commission, probably used at the court of the Tongzhi Emperor. A circular bowl enamelled in the "Mandarin" palette with numerous figures on a terrace, the interior with circular centre panel and wide patterned borders, sold to a Chinese dealer on the Internet for £3,200, closely followed by a good Chinese "Famille Rose" octagonal two-handled tureen and cover with "Pomegranate" and animal head pattern handles. Research showed there are at least five services with this motif but with differing formats. It is believed they were ordered for the Royal House of Portugal and that King D. Joao VI later took part of the services to Brazil in 1807. This theme was also ordered by the Royal House of Sweden when they were known as the "Peacock" Services. The tureen sold to a US collector on the Internet for £3,100. A 19th century Clair-de-lune glazed bulbous vase with moulded mask and ring handles sold to a Shanghai bidder on the Internet for £1,500. Still with the Kent collection, it was a quantity of carved jade works of art which took the highest prices. Most valuable proved to be a good Qianlong period green celadon jade carving of a mythical beast and its cub on a carved and pierced hardwood lingzhi fungus stand. Estimated at £10,000-15,000, it sold to a mainland Chinese bidder on the telephone for £27,000, while a good green celadon jade Qianlong period carving of two monkeys holding a coconut, 2.5ins (63mm) high, the carved and pierced hardwood stand bearing a label for John Sparks Ltd, 128, Mount Street, London, sold to a local trade buyer in the room for £10,000 against an estimate of £4,000-6,000. From another source, a late 18th or early 19th century Cantonese enamel bulbous spittoon, decorated in colours with scrolled floral ornaments on a pale blue ground, was purchased by a Beijing buyer on the Internet for £2,000. Prize in the jade section, however, was a good spinach green jade boulder carved with a figure of Shou Lau, the God of Longevity, and his attendants with deer beneath flowering tree on its original finely carved hardwood stand. It sold for £14,000, much to the delight of its owner who took it to one of the saleroom's free Friday valuation mornings with the aim of selling it in order to raise deposits for his children to buy their first homes. It had been in the family since the 1950s, when it was acquired by the vendor's father, a jewellery dealer. It was purchased this time by another Internet bidder from Shanghai. A valuation day run by the saleroom in Canterbury specifically for Asian works of art paid dividends. Among the objects brought in was a 19th century "Cantonese" ivory “brisé” fan (ie without a fan leaf), the individual sticks finally carved and pierced on both sides with figures in pavilions in a garden scene. It had been estimated at £400-600 but sold to London-based Oriental dealer on the telephone for £2,000. A similar ivory card case decorated with pavilions and figures in gardens, sold for £980. Left for sale at a Friday valuation day, it was purchased by a Sussex collector in the room. However, the single-owner Kent collection produced the best piece of ivory in the sale: a good Qing Dynasty Chinese standing figure of Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy, carrying a sceptre in her left hand and string of beads in her right. It sold to local specialist dealer in the room for £5,200. The Saturday Canterbury valuation day was responsible for producing the best piece of 18th century Chinese cloisonné: a gilt bronze miniature vase measuring just 5 inches (127mm), decorated in coloured enamels with bold floral and scroll work design on a turquoise ground, the base engraved with the seven character Qianlong mark. It sold to local dealer in the room for £6,600, more than double its presale low estimate. However, the Kent collection also included some fine examples, notably a circular gilt bronze and cloisonné seal paste box and cover decorated in coloured enamels with a flower and scroll design, on a turquoise ground, engraved with the same seven character Qianlong mark, which sold to one of the same Shanghai bidders for £4,000. Close behind at £3,600 was a bronze and cloisonné miniature bottle-shaped vase decorated with fruiting vines, which sold to a London-based Chinese buyer in the room. The Kent collection also provided a small Sino-Tibetan gilt bronze figure of a seated Buddha, which sold to the same local specialist dealer in the room for an above estimate £2,400, and a 19th century Chinese carved rosewood rectangular table screen inlaid with hard stones, mother-of-pearl and ivory with figures and landscapes on shaped trestle supports. It was purchased by a Chinese mainland buyer on the telephone for £4,000. The collection's highlight in works of art, however, was a good Qianlong period red cinnabar lacquer quatrefoil lobed bulbous vase, the body with four rectangular panels carved in deep relief with figures on a terrace, with trees and mountains to background. It was estimated at £3,000-5,000 to reflect its cracked and damaged footrim but it sold to local specialist dealer in the room for £8,200. A 19th century Chinese silvery metal circular fruit bowl, the body embossed with a battle scene with figures on foot and horseback, on four dragon pattern feet, engraved "Hong Kong Races 1893 – The Steadfast Cup” (29 ozs) sold to a New York dealer on the Internet against strong competition from mainland China for £5,800. It came from a North Kent estate and had been estimated at £500-700, while a pair of Chinese boldly carved rosewood circular two tier jardinière stands from a Canterbury home, the tops inset with pink veined marble panels and standing on cabriole legs with face masks to the knees and claw and ball feet, sold to a London oriental specialist on the telephone for £1,450. In Continental ceramics a 19th century French lead glazed charger by H. Deck, decorated in colours with a shoulder length portrait of a gentleman in 16th century dress within a border of vignettes and scrolls, signed Anker, came from a Deal estate and sold to a Wiltshire collector on the telephone for £1,000. It has been estimated at £100-120. From the same source, a late 19th-century French yellow glazed faience figure of a seated cat with green glass eyes and an amused expression, the body decorated in blue with the painted mark "QR" sold to a local dealer with a commission bid of £520. Jewellery produced some strong prices, notably an Edwardian style yellow diamond pendant of approximately 2.25 carats, the stone surrounded by a halo of small diamonds, all set in platinum, which sold to a local private buyer with a commission bid of £4,200. A good 19th century German gold bracelet mounted with double portrait miniatures of a young woman and an older woman surrounded by pearls and rose diamonds sold to a London portrait specialist for £3,600. A good pair of Edwardian platinum mounted diamond and pearl pendant earrings contained in its original Liberty green leather covered case sold to the London trade in the room for £2,000, as did a good 19th century continental gold coloured metal mounted circular brooch in the Etruscan style, the centre set in micro mosaic with the word Polyhymnia and an image of Greek goddess of the same name, the muse of sacred hymns and poetry. It sold for £1,850. An early 20th century two colour gold rectangular snuff box, with a cabochon cut sapphire thumbpiece and reeded asymmetric sunburst design, thought to be by Alexander Tillander, St. Petersburg (1855-1918) weighing 150g, sold to a London private buyer who left a commission bid of £5,000. Most valuable painting in the sale proved to be by the German painter Johann Jacob Gensler (1808-1845) which came from a Dover estate which fittingly was purchased by a German collector on the telephone. The oil was signed and dated 1840 and showed a parade of children being led by a drummer through the arch of the city gates, watched by mothers holding infants. It sold for an above presale low estimate £3,200. Also up for repatriation was a pair of Neapolitan Bay views in gilded oval frames by Achille Solari (1835-1884) send for sale from a local estate, which was purchased by an Italian collector on the telephone for £1,650 . Nearest contender to the top lot was a three quarters length oil on canvas portrait of Sir Albert Cunningham wearing armour and holding a baton in his right hand with a battle scene in the background. From the studio of Willem Wissing (1656-1687), the painting was in a 17th century style carved giltwood frame and was consigned by a mid Kent collector. It sold to a local private collector for £2,800. A charming oil on panel of a girl in a white dress and straw hat leaning on a fence by Percy William Gibbs (fl. 1894-1925) was pursued by several would-be suitors but was purchased by a private buyer on the telephone for £1,550. A feature of the works of art section of the sale was a small group of Victorian rosewood and Tunbridgeware boxes, send for sale by a Maidstone collector. Pick of the collection was a good rectangular sarcophagus shaped tea caddy, probably by Edmund Nye (1797-1863), the lid inlaid with a view of Eridge Castle, the interior with two plain lidded compartments, space for sugar bowl and with heavy slice and hobnail cut bell-shaped sugar bowl. It sold to Lincolnshire collector who left an above estimate commission bid of £920, while ironically, it was a Maidstone collector, bidding on the Internet, who secured the next best piece, a rectangular writing box, probably by Henry Hollamby (1819-1895), the slope inlaid with a view of Battle Abbey gatehouse, the interior with two lidded inkwells and pencil compartment. It sold for £840 against an estimate of £500-700. Eighty inches and £200 separated the most sought-after clocks in the sale. Larger of the two was an 18th century of longcase by John Mercer of Hythe, the brass dial with subsidiary seconds dial and date aperture and engraved with two birds, the eight-day movement striking on a bell. Interestingly, Mercer, who was recorded working in Hythe from 1736 to 1779, was known to have been mayor of the town in 1756, 1768, 1772, 1777 in 1779. The clock had been sent for sale from a Hythe home and was contested eagerly by a collector in the town. Sadly he was beaten by a commission bid of £2,000 from a buyer from Herne Bay. Although just 2 x 3.25 inches, a George V silver-cased Art Deco timepiece by Cartier with hallmarks for London: 1935, was big enough to attract the attention of a New York collector bidding on the Internet. Probably once mounted on a stand as a desk clock, it was brought into a Friday valuation day and sold for £1,900. As already reported, a 16th century cabinet made of wood from trees found only in the Azores, some now extinct, proved to be the unexpected prize in the sale, selling to a private Portuguese collector on the telephone for £31,000. It's nearest contender was an 18th-century gentleman's dressing chest of draws made from Padouk wood inlaid with ebonised moldings and feathered bandings, the corners with blind fret canted corners. It came from local home and was purchased by a Worcester collector on the telephone for £3,800 against an estimate of £800-1,200. A Victorian figured walnut kneehole desk, the top inset with green leather over nine drawers from a North Kent home sold for £2,400 to a Suffolk trader in the room who ignored its £500-700 estimate, and a Yorkshire dealer on the telephone paid £1,200 to a local vendor for an 18th century panelled oak dresser base with three frieze drawers above cupboards enclosed by a pair of shaped and fielded panelled doors. Interestingly, Internet bidders rarely seem deterred by the logistics or getting their purchases home. However, one can only guess at the shipping costs facing the Australian collector who purchased a pair of 19th century limestone staddle stones – they were originally employed to raise granaries off the ground to protect the stored grain from vermin and standing water. If that wasn’t enough, with them was a heavy limestone baluster shaped pedestal sundial and two similarly weighty shaped limestone sinks. They came from a Deal estate and sold for £520. Entries are now being accepted for the final Two Day Sale of the year, one December 6-7. For further information, please contact the auctioneers on 01227 763337 or

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