Jewellery Dominates in 3-Day October Sale

09/10/20

The Canterbury Auction Galleries’ reputation as important rooms for the sale and purchase of fine quality pre-owned antique and modern jewellery was underlined in the three-day October sales when one local private vendor received a windfall of £79,000 for five pieces, and a spending spree by one specialist London buyer who purchased four of them.

Boosting entries was an arrangement by which vendors pay zero commission on jewellery consignments over £1,000 currently in place to assist people during these difficult economic times.

 The local vendor had tested the market with entries in a couple of previous sales conducted by auctioneer Tony Pratt and encouraged by their success, he had consigned two rings, a necklace, a bracelet and a jewel-encrusted Tiffany watch, the London trade buyer spending a total of £49,000 on a return visit to the online-only auctions.

A new house record for a solitaire diamond ring offered at the saleroom was set by the most valuable piece in the group of five pieces: a modern ring set with an old European-cut diamond weighing approximately 6ct surrounded by baguette cut rubies and six small diamonds. It sold on estimate for £30,000 and was purchased by a West Sussex bidder.

Close behind at £23,000 was an 18ct gold bracelet by top international jeweller Van Cleef & Arpels set with cabochon Zambian emeralds weighing approximately 12ct, 4cts of Burmese rubies and 2.5cts of round, brilliant white diamonds, flanked with 43 saltwater cultured pearls. It had been estimated at £5,000-7,000 and was followed by a modern solitaire diamond ring by the French jewellery firm Rene Boivin, the 3.1ct round, brilliant-cut gem set in an 18ct gold articulated mount. Offered with a Gemological Certification Services Report, it sold for £19,000 against an estimate of £5,000-7,000.

A modern 18ct gold diamond-set necklace, also by Boivin, was modelled as two articulated fish, each set with 27 round, brilliant-cut diamonds of approximately 4cts, joined by two pear-shaped diamonds suspended from rope-style chains. It sold on estimate for £4,000, while completing the London buyer’s prizes was a Tiffany & Co. lady's wristwatch, the bezel and flanks of the platinum case set with two pear-shaped diamonds and others with a total weight of 3.6cts, on a conforming Milanese platinum bracelet. It sold for £3,000 to emerge as the most valuable watch in the sale.

Consigned by an East Kent private individual was a modern solitaire ring, the old European-cut 3ct diamond set in 18ct gold, which sold to a Berkshire buyer bidding on the internet for a top estimate £5,000.

Elsewhere, a feature of the sale was a collection of 20th century British paintings and other property consigned by the executors of the late Sir Ronald “Ronnie” McIntosh (1919-2019) from his and his wife Doreen’s London home in Ponsonby Terrace SW1 and latterly at The Thatched Cottage, near Faversham, Kent. He was Director General of the National Economic Development Office during the 1970s and a staunch member of the New English Art Club. Lady McIntosh predeceased him in 2009.

Most wanted from the collection was, in fact, a good late Victorian brass-bound rosewood eight-day marine chronometer, which recalled Sir Ronald’s wartime service in the Merchant Navy. By James W. Benson, 25 Old Bond Street, London, it sold to an Essex collector for an above estimate £3,900.

Most wanted painting was a view of a Fowey Harbour, the busy river landscape with three figures in the foreground by Fred Cuming (born 1930), an oil on board 24ins square, which sold to a London buyer for an above estimate £3,200.

It was followed closely by an oil on canvas laid on board by Donald McIntyre (1923-2009) showing a bright Normandy street scene with various figures to the foreground, 28ins x 30.5ins, purchased by Sir Ronald and Lady McIntosh from the Thackeray Gallery in Kensington in 1983. It sold to a Scottish bidder on estimate for £3,000, taking the total for the collection to £26,950.

Elsewhere in the picture section of the three-day sale was an oil on canvas by Scottish artist Joseph Farquharson (1846-1935) which was purchased by a member of the Farquharson family living in Scotland. The Eastern street scene, 26ins x 22ins, in a deep, gilt-moulded frame with acanthus leaf borders, showed a souk with figures to the foreground, and had been shown in The Fine Art Society’s June 1978 exhibition "Eastern Encounters", and sold by Sotheby's in London in 2000. A bid of £4,000 returned it to the family.

Returning to the public domain so that it can be seen by local historians was a late 17th or early 18th century estate plan by Francis Hill, titled "A Map of the Mannor of Rippley Attis Ripple", belonging to Herbert Jacob Esq., dated 1709, which was purchased by Kent History and Library Centre with a bid of £2,000. Painted on vellum, 24ins x 28.75ins, the map was decorated with an ornate armorial bearing, scale and table of acreage, protected by glass in an ebonised frame.

American designers Charles Eames and his wife Ray are well known for their ground-breaking furniture, their signature Lounge and Ottoman (Nos 670 and 671) made by the Herman Miller furniture company from 1956, always attracting strong bidding. An example of each, dating probably from the 1970s with typical rosewood veneered frame upholstered in black leather, caught the eye of a local bidder who paid £2,800 to secure them against an estimate of £800-1,200.

Also ignoring the estimate, a Cambridgeshire bidder paid £2,600 for an anonymous but desirable late 17th century longcase clock consigned from a local deceased estate. The 10ins square brass dial with silvered chapter ring had a subsidiary seconds dial and date aperture, while the trunk door was relieved by a circular glass lenticle in an otherwise plain ebonised case.

An extensive section of militaria was led by a collection formed by Keith Chisman, a member of the Military Historical Society, a Sergeant Major Instructor in the Army Cadet Force and for many years in charge of the rifle range for his colleagues at Bowaters. He died earlier this year aged 90.

Most wanted in the collection was an excellent deactivated .45 Calibre Thompson sub-machine gun, sold with four spare straight magazines and canvas magazine holder, a handbook and a photograph of Winston Churchill carrying a similar weapon. It sold on estimate to a Scottish buyer for £2,000, while the collection raised a total of £24,070.

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