Previous News - Cartier clock sells for £49,000 at The Canterbury Auction Galleries


Bidders ignore damage and send price spiralling to 10 times estimate.

Its black onyx body was cracked and some of the rose-cut diamonds and coral marking the hours were missing but that did not deter bidders at The Canterbury Auction Galleries competing to buy a fine Cartier desk clock. Twelve would-be purchasers battled it out with bidders in the saleroom, sending the price soaring to £49,000. Because of its damage, the clock had been estimated at just £2,500-4,000.

“Our valuation was conservative because of its condition but there was no mistaking the quality of the clock,” said auctioneer Tony Pratt. “It attracted huge interest with phone bidders from America and Spain, but it was sold to a Bond Street jeweller who was determined to purchase it.”

Made by Cartier in Paris in the 1920s and named the “Milestone” clock, it had a cream enamelled “Pekin” style chapter ring with black enamel Roman numerals interspersed with small square red coral panels, the border set with two small rose diamonds at each numeral. At its centre, the dial had a red coral fretted carving of a bird and floral motifs within a mother of pearl border, while rose diamond-set hands marked the time. It had been sent for sale by an obviously delighted family from the Dover area.

Its success was overshadowed, however, by the stellar results of the Evans Collection of Chinese porcelain and works of art, which had been estimated at around £150,000, but sold for almost £900,000 (see separate press release). The same could be said for other oriental antiques and works of art from other owners in the Two-Day Sale.

Overturning an estimate of £4,000-6,000 to sell for £17,500, was a white glazed and incised porcelain “Dragon” vase, the bulbous body incised with a four clawed dragon chasing flaming pearls, all picked out in light blue wash, the base incised with the six character Chenghua mark (Qing Dynasty, Kangxi period). From a local vendor, it sold to a Chinese dealer on the telephone who beat off strong competition from a London dealer.

A collection of Chinese carved jade works of art had been offered in groups by one of the big three London auctioneers but had been left unsold. By offering them individually, prices achieved at The Canterbury Auction Galleries were well in excess of estimates for the lots when they had been grouped together.

Most valuable proved to be an 18th century Qing Dynasty white jade carving of a boy, modelled holding the reigns of a hobby-horse. It measured just 2.5ins (66mm) high and sold for £11,000 against an estimate of £2,000-3,000 to a London based Chinese dealer in the room.

Close behind at £10,500 was a good 18th century celadon jade pebble carving of two gourds, carved with butterflies amongst leafy tendrils, 2.75ins (70mm) x 2.5ins, which sold to a U.S. based Chinese dealer on the telephone, followed by an 18th century white jade carving of a boy holding a lychee, 2.25ins (57mm) which sold to a Chinese dealer in Beijing for £9,000. All three pieces came from same Italian collection.

The presence of so many oriental pieces no doubt boosted interest in an early 20th century Chinese silver circular punch bowl weighing 73 ozs, boldly embossed with a dragon and engraved with an inscription which read: “Presented to H. Kingswood Esq. O.B.E., Chief Engineer SS Kingwo by the Engine Room Staff 1931”). With it was a similar silver oval two-handled tray with bamboo pattern rim to its centre: “Presented to H. Kingswood Esq. O.B.E., Chief Engineer SS Kingwo, Xmas 1924”). They had been inherited by a Canterbury family and sold together to a London based Chinese silver dealer for £3,300 against an estimate of £1,200-1,600.

The same price was paid for an early 20th century Chinese blackwood bonheur-du-jour with boldly fretted and carved fruiting vine pattern decoration on carved cabriole legs and paw pattern feet. It had been estimated at £1,250-1,600, but an even better performer was a good blackwood display cabinet sent for sale by the same Ashford vendor whose grandparents had owned the two pieces when they lived in Hong Kong.

Thought to have been made in about 1915 as a wedding present for the couple, the display cabinet bore a label indicating it had been made by Po Sang Cheong, 46 & 49 Wellington Street, Hong Kong. It was boldly carved with a dramatic scene of dragons among cloud motifs and fruiting vines chasing the flaming pearl and was estimated at £3,000-5,000. Both pieces were purchased by a Chinese dealer from Lincolnshire, bidding on the telephone, the cabinet for £11,500.

Away from China, the most valuable piece of jewellery in the sale proved rightly to be an imposing late 19th or early 20th century French gold and silver mounted pearl and diamond tiara, contained in its original blue leather covered fitted case initialled “KM” with coronet above, retailed by Guillot, Joaillier Bijoutier, 20 Rue Therese, Paris. It sold to a private buyer in the room for £10,000.

Collectors in the room and on the telephone from America were also keen to acquire watercolour and pen and ink sketches by John William Waterhouse (1849-1917) all of which had the irrefutable provenance of having remained in the artist’s family until being sent for sale by a descendant from North Kent and exhibited widely previously, notably at the Royal Academy. Pick of the collection were watercolour sketches titled respectively “Interior at Pompeii”, and “Neapolitan Shop”, the latter showing a fruit stall with a seated figure to foreground. Each sold for £1,250, while most valuable pen and ink sketch was “Seated Girl Watching the Sun Rise”, circa 1914, which sold for £2,600 against an estimate of £200-300. The collection raised a total of £11,660.

The sale included a number of good clocks, but among the most sought after was one in the most dilapidated state. The case of the 18th century “tavern” drop dial clock was found propped against the wall in the garage by Tony Pratt on a routine valuation in a house in Faversham, while its 24ins diameter painted wood dial was found in the cellar. Lacking its pendulum and weight and in need of full restoration, it was estimated at £400-600 but sold for £1,900 to a local collector who clearly enjoys a challenge.

A good 19th century French carriage clock by Leroy & Fils, Palais Royal, 13-15 Paris, with eight-day two-train quarter repeating movement and alarum striking on two bells sold to another private collector for £1,850, while a Derbyshire dealer bidding by telephone secured an original and untouched William IV drop dial wall clock by Mitchell & Russell of Glasgow, the painted metal domed dial contained in a figured mahogany case carved in bold relief with oak leaves and acorns. Generally in need of restoration, it sold for £1,650. Mitchell & Russell are recorded working Glasgow 1803-1841.

In addition to selling his Chinese collection, Kent man Mr Evans also chose this sale to disperse his collection of early maps of the county. It raised a total of just over £20,000, the lots being purchased mainly by like-minded private collectors. Pick of the collection was “A Topographical Map of the County of Kent, 1769 - Twenty-five sheets on a scale of two inches to a mile from an actual Survey” by John Andrews (fl. 1766-1809) and Andrew Dury (fl. 1742-1778) and William Herbert, printed for A. Dury in Dukes Court, St. Martins Lane, and W. Herbert at No. 27 in Gulstons Square, White Chappel. Bound as one atlas size folio with 23 double page sheets of maps, plans of Sandwich, Canterbury and map of the County of Kent, it sold for £2,500.

A coloured engraving “Map of South East England” by Christopher Saxton (1542-1610) showing Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Middlesex and London, engraved by Hogenberg, published 1576, in an ebonised and gilt moulded frame sold for £2,000 and “The South Prospect of Ye Citie of Canterbury drawn from Dungeon Hill by Jam. Collins 1704” an engraving showing a panorama of the city from the castle to Riding Gate, printed on two sheets sold for £1,600. Both were purchased by local collectors in the room.

In works of art, a brown patinated bronze figure of a racehorse by John Willis Good (1845-1879) signed on the base and retailed by Dobson & Sons, 6 New Bond Street, doubled its presale estimate to sell for £3,300. It came from a Faversham home, while one of the saleroom’s free Friday valuation mornings turned up a particularly rare survivor: an 18th century “Black Jack”, an early drinking cup made from tarred leather. Embellished with a silver mount to the rim, it sold for an above estimate £920 to a private collector in the room.

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