A busy autumn with amazing prices

Oct 01, 2021

With room bidders now back in the room, it’s almost back to the pre-pandemic days of auctions with all the anticipation, the thrill and the rush of auction drama. The highlight of the day was a Chinese white jade magnifier. The jade handle was beautifully carved, depicting a bearded dragon, and the collar had engraved bamboo decoration. With lots of pre-auction interest it soared to £2,400. On a similar vein, an Oriental needlework had a huge amount of interest. Dating to the 18th century it was in excellent condition with not a flaw to the fine needlework. Depicting goats and sheep under a tree in silvered and muted colours in a pierced wooden frame, the detail was phenomenal, and the bidding flew to £2000 selling to a phone bidder.

A pair of Georgian fold-over card tables held the winning hand selling for £2,600. The ‘D’ form tables were of a simple design with satinwood string inlay. The history of playing cards dates back centuries and during the 18th century card games were at the height of their popularity. Both gentlemen and ladies would play, in their own homes with friends and at gaming salons. During this period, tables designed solely for the purpose of playing cards were extremely popular. The basic form of these tables was a rectangular top that folded in half and was supported by legs that would swing out. “Due to their shape and design, we can date the card tables to the late 18th century” comments Tim Weeks, Director of Wessex Auction Room. Pairs of card tables were popular because they suited interior layouts and the Georgian trend for symmetry in a room. It is rare to find a pair of card tables in good condition; over the years they are inevitably split. The pair at Wessex Auction Rooms featured a green baize playing surface and were in fine condition.

A Victorian man-in-the-moon bar brooch caused a stir. The central carved moonstone depicted a face, symbolising the man-in-the-moon. The face was surrounded with a circle of seed pearls and each terminal was formed of two star shapes set with seed pearls. “Victorian moonstone jewellery is exceptionally collectable, with a particular fascination for moonstone man-in-the-moon jewellery” explains Izzie Balmer, Auctioneer and Head of Jewellery and Silver at Wessex Auction Rooms. “Victorians were fascinated with the idea of travel to other planets and the discoveries of comets and other celestial bodies influenced themes portrayed in jewellery. Man-in-the-moon jewellery is pretty rare, so it was a delight to see this one sell for £950.”

Moorcroft has been a household name for over a century. In 1897 William Moorcroft went to work for the ceramics company James Macintyre & Co and within a year he was leading the company’s art pottery studio. Unusually for the period, Moorcroft signed each piece with his initials. His first range for the company, Florian Ware, won global awards, but it was Moorcroft’s success that led the company to close the studio down in 1912. In 1913 Moorcroft established his own company at a nearby factory where he continued to produce his now-famous tubelined hand painted pottery. In 1928 he was awarded a royal warrant by Queen Mary, a keen collector of his work. Shortly before William Moorcroft’s death in 1945, his son, Walter Moorcroft took control of the business, developing the designs and creating new ones. “The most notable Moorcroft pieces are those created during the early 20th century by William Moorcroft” notes Martin Hughes, Director at Wessex Auction Rooms. “The berry vase circa 1920s-1930s, was one such piece, commanding bids up to £700.”

A 20th century Philips Challenge Globe soared to £500. The Cartes Taride globe was placed within a pedestal on four wooden legs and in excellent condition. The company was established in the 1840s by George Philip when he opened and ran a bookseller’s and stationary shop. He expanded the business to produce educational works and maps. The company was passed down to family members and was operated independently for over 140 years. Vintage and antique globes are extremely popular at auction, although condition is very important.

Wessex Auction Rooms are consigning for their forthcoming Antiques, Collectables and Furniture auctions together with their monthly specialist auctions. Please call the office on 01249 720888 or email enquiries@wessexauctionrooms.co.uk for more information