Previous News - Chinese buyers send prices soaring at The Canterbury Auction Galleries


Estimates overturned by free-spending collectors and dealers in two-day sale.

Staff at The Canterbury Auction Galleries were celebrating their best ever sales result this week* after collectors and dealers spent freely on 1,400 lots of fine art, antiques and collectors’ items, raising a total of £625,400**. The figure was boosted enormously by waves of aggressive bidding for Asian objects which left presale estimates in the two-day sale in their wake.

A rare Ming jar once in the collection of millionaire mining magnate, philanthropist and famed collector Sir Alfred Chester Beatty. It sold for £43,000 against an estimate of £6,000-8,000. The blue and white porcelain Guan jar, the name indicating its shape, was made in Jingdezhen and was decorated in the so-called “Windswept” manner, characterised by its loose brushstrokes, with swirling clouds above a landscape with daoist immortals. It dated from the second half of the 15th century.

The jar was a gift from by the Chester Beatty family to mark the retirement of Thomas Horat Bradford as managing director of their mining company Selection Trust Ltd., which had been founded by Alfred Chester Beatty in 1913. It has been consigned to the Canterbury auction by Mr Bradford’s daughter, who lives in Kent.

Both the figure and the jar were purchased by Chinese dealers bidding in the room as were a group of Chinese porcelain celadon glazed Cong vases, each moulded in relief(?). The most valuable sold for £13,000, while another and a pair, each drilled for electricity, sold with a third half the size of the others at 5.25 ins, each fetched £9,500, all multiples of their estimates.

A large Chinese blue and white porcelain "Dragon" jar painted with aquatic dragons, birds and scroll ornament, dating from the Wanli period was estimated at £5,000-7,000 to reflect its restored condition but sold for £11,000.

Pick among a select group of embroidered silk works of art was a framed yellow panel worked with central peony surrounded by the lucky symbols of bats, peaches and lotus blooms. Faded and dating from the late 18th or early 19th century Qing dynasty, it sold to a Chinese telephone bidder for £6,000 against an estimate of £600-800.

High prices continued among a collection of Indian works of art and furniture, some of which were consigned by the family of Sir Frederick Fryer (1845-1922) collected by him during the period he served in the Indian Civil Service between 1864-1903.He was Chief Commissioner of Burma in 1895-1897 and Lieutenant Governor in 1897-1903.

The section raised a total of £14,000, the most valuable piece being a Burmese silver presentation betel box, cover and stand, with figurative finial, the whole cast in relief with processional scene of figures and animals within leaf and scroll borders, the stand with pierced rim and on four paw pattern feet. An inscription read: "Presented to Lady Fryer on the eve of her departure by the Burmese, Mahomedan, Hindu and Chinese ladies of Rangoon, in token of their esteem, 14th March 1903". It weighed a total of 76oz and sold for £5,500, again a multiple of its estimate.

*The £300,000 sale in May 2012 was boosted by the Evans Collection, which raised almost £1 million.

**Prices quoted do not include the 20 per cent buyers’ premium.

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