Previous News - Cracked vase sells for £64,000 at the Canterbury Auction Galleries


Price is new house record for saleroom.

A cracked vase which sold for £63,000, setting a new house record for The Canterbury Auction Galleries, helped the saleroom post an all-time record total approaching £400,000 for lots sold in the May 24-25 Two Day Sale.

A total of 53 lots sold for more than £1,000 to 240 commission bidders from as far afield as Hong Kong, New Zealand, the U.S., Turkey, Malta, and across Europe, while 134 registered phone bidders joined in the sale from Thailand, China, Slovenia, Turkey, Sweden, Dublin and elsewhere in Europe. Internet registrations numbered 410, 131 of whom made purchases.

The record-breaking vase Chinese blue and white porcelain vase was decorated in the Kangxi manner with flowers and leaves and bore blue character marks to its base. It attracted six telephone bidders, at least three of whom were Chinese – two on the telephone and others bidding on the Internet. It fell after a long bidding battle to a Chinese dealer resident in England, who said she had purchased it on behalf of a mainland Chinese collector.

The 15-inch tall vase was found by auctioneer Tony Pratt during a routine valuation visit to a Gravesend home. Its owner said she remembered it from her childhood, having been told it had been purchased by her great great grandfather at an auction of the contents of a house in the area many years. The saleroom’s previous record was held by a George III satinwood commode, which sold in 1996 for £63,000.

There was also cause for celebration when a gold golfing trophy, offered in aid of the Save Canterbury Cathedral Appeal, sold for £9,200. The trophy had been donated to the cathedral more than 30 years ago by Viscount De L’Isle, the chairman of soft drinks company Schweppes Ltd, then also the chairman of the trustees of the cathedral. His company had presented it to the English County Golfing Association but it became redundant sometime after 1965 when it was decided it should be gifted to the cathedral.

The two-handled nine carat gold cup was made by London goldmiths Elkington and Co in 1913 and weighed 27.5 ounces. The body was engraved with the names of the winning societies and participants from 1913 to 1965, and its domed lid with leaf-caped finial was decorated with leaf ornament and lion's mask drop handles. The auctioneer waived buyer's premium and commission charges so that all proceeds were added to the appeal. It was purchased by a Newcastle dealer who left commission bid.

Gold and jewellery were sought after, particularly by private buyers, the most valuable among the latter being a late Victorian rivière necklace comprised of 62 collet set old cut diamonds of graduating size and hung with a flowerhead pattern pendant, itself set with a further 26 old cut diamonds. It sold for £18,500 to a local private buyer who was buying it for his wife.

The necklace was among a cache of valuable antique jewellery from the estate of philanthropic Peter Adams (1920-1999) of Bethersden, Ashford, the money going to the Peter Adams Trust to assist worthwhile local causes, Since Mr Adams’ death, the collection had been locked away in the safe keeping of trustees who administer his bequest, the purpose of which is primarily intended to maintain and conserve the farmland and properties he owned. The jewellery belonged to his mother, Grace Henrietta Ellinor Adams (née Howorth) whose family was well placed in Victorian times and resided at Cripland Court, a large country property in Lindfield, Sussex. She died in 1957.

A good late Victorian sapphire and diamond cross pattern brooch or pendant, set with a central rectangular Ceylon sapphire weighing approximately four carats, surrounded by eight oval sapphires and 82 old cut diamonds sold to a local private buyer on the telephone for £4,900, while alate Victorian gold bracelet set with seven graduated half pearls interspersed by 14 old cut diamonds sold for £1,450, to a private buyer in the room.

The collection also provided stock for a London dealer, ahead of a trade fair in Las Vegas. He purchased five gold and diamond rings for a total of £8,050, the most valuable of which was set with five old cut diamonds, each interspersed by two rose diamonds, which sold for £2,500.The Peter Adams Trust Collection sold for a total of £44,000

One notable lot among jewellery from other owners was a 22-inch single strand of amber worry beads with a turned pendant drop on a yellow silk cord. Estimated £100-150, they attracted the attention of a buyer on the Internet in Turkey who paid £4,900 to make them his.

Picture dealers and collectors were drawn to the sale by a collection of works by the Pre-Raphaelite John William Waterhouse (1849-1917) which had been sent for sale by a member of the artist's family, now living in North Kent. Pick of the collection was a shoulder length self-portrait, sketch in oils on board done in about 1886. It sold to a London dealer on the telephone for £15,700.

A half length portrait oil sketch on board of a woman wearing a blue dress and white bonnet sold to a South Coast collector bidding on the telephone for £3,900 and a watercolour sketch portrait of the artist's sister Mrs Mary Ida Alexandra Physick (died 1953) sold to a London gallery for £3,000. Bids on the collection, which were all multiples of presale estimates, totaled over £27,000

From other owners, a charming full-length oil on canvas portrait of a young girl titled "Highland Lass" by the Scottish artist Thomas Faed (1826-1900), signed and dated 1884 and still in its original heavy gilt moulded frame sold for £4,200. The painting came from a North Kent private home and will be returning north of the Border having been purchased by an Edinburgh gallery.

A bid by a New Zealand collector to repatriate a First Maori Wars medal dated 1846-1847 ended in disappointment. The medal, inscribed "To Assistant Surgeon William Ross M. D. H M S Calliope" was found among the collection brought into the saleroom in a carrier bag and caught the attention of the New Zealander, who happened to be in the UK on holiday. He travelled to the sale to bid in person, but was beaten by a local specialist medal buyer, who paid £1,600 against an estimate of £350-500.

Not to be outdone, however, the New Zealander paid £1,400 for a George VI Distinguished Flying Cross, awarded posthumously to Pilot Officer Royston James Child of the No 35 Squadron (Pathfinder) Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Aged 20, Child was the only son of James and Violet Child of Thornton Heath, Surrey. The DFC was awarded for saving the life of a fellow airman during a bombing raid in 1944. The medal collection raised a total of £4,200.

Chinese buyers had better luck in repatriating Jade works of art. Brought in to a Friday valuation morning at the saleroom by a Dover client, a Chinese celadon green jade belt hook carved with a dragon and a dragon's head, sold together with a panel carved with a mythical birds and flowers now mounted as a hand mirror to a local Chinese specialist dealer for £4,300, while a Chinese buyer bidding on the Internet from Las Vegas paid £440 for a celeadon green jade rectangular belt buckle carved with a lotus flower, all three pieces dating from the Qing dynasty.

Among collectors’ items, London dealers and private buyers make short work of arresting collection of Georgian and Victorian police tipstaves and painted wooden truncheons, collected over a period of 40 years by Mr. Brian Sharp, 81, a retired insurance broker who now owns an antique shop in Wye, near Ashford. The collection raised a total of just less than £5,000, the most expensive piece being an unusual George III carved and painted wood City of Westminster truncheon, the tip carved with a crown and decorated with a coat of arms above a portcullis. It sold for £520.

From a Herne Bay home, seven books by children's story writer CS Lewis, all printed in the 1950s, sold for a total of £3,200, most valuable of which proved to be predictably "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe”, which alone sold for £740.

In works of art, a Deal client chose the sale to sell cold painted bronze figures by Franz Xavier Bergman (1861-1936), which excited collectors in both Russia and Belgium. Most valuable proved to be a pair of Arab figures on donkeys, each with the Bergman mark to the saddles. They sold to a Russian buyer bidding on the Internet for £2,300 against an estimate of £1,000-1,500, as did a figure of a seated Arab with a rifle which sold for £420. A Belgian buyer on the Internet paid an above estimate £980 for two figures of coloured boys, one straddling a fence and holding a rifle, the other seated with his arms around his legs.

It was also a Belgian buyer, bidding on the telephone, who secured the choicest piece of furniture in the sale, a late 18th or early 19th century Dutch figured walnut display armoire from a local home which sold for £3,900.

Entries are now invited for the next Two Day Sale at The Canterbury Auction Galleries on September 6th & 7th. For further information please telephone 01227 776337 or email at

Back To News