Bargain Hunt at Wessex Auction Rooms

Feb 24, 2020

The Antiques, Furniture and Collectables auctions at Wessex Auction Rooms always see a full saleroom but last week saw a few extra faces with the experts and crew from Bargain Hunt attending. Charlie Ross, Charles Hanson and Kate Bliss joined the team at Wessex for the day together with their contestants as they watched their lots go under the hammer.

Watch collecting continues from strength to strength with some of the most desired watches being those used during World War Two. The B-Uhr, the German Luftwaffe Observers’ watch, is a collectors’ piece and always commands attention when it comes to the market. Manufactured by five German and Swiss watchmakers, these watches are large, with a diameter of approximately 60mm. They are instantly recognisable from their black dial with white Arabic numerals and luminous sword hands and orientation triangle. The outer bezel is stamped FL23883 and the inner case is stamped with the watch type, production number, movement, order number and manufacturer. The B-Uhren watches were the property of the Luftwaffe, not of the navigators. The watches were issued before flight and returned following completion of the mission. One of these watches, produced by A Lange & Sohne, went under the hammer at Wessex Auction Rooms selling for £2,800.

When we hear the name Tiffany & Co we think of diamonds, we think of luxury and we think of quality. In 1837, the company was established in New York and was the first American company to adopt the British silver standard of using 925 silver but it was not until 1878 that the name of Tiffany was firmly cemented as fine jewellers when the company acquired a huge 287.42 carat yellow diamond from the Kimberley diamond mines in South Africa. Cut into a 128.54 carat faceted gem it became know at the Tiffany diamond and was worn by Audrey Hepburn in promo shoots for the film Breakfast At Tiffany’s. In 1886 Tiffany created the Tiffany setting. Prior to this, diamonds were set in rub-over settings, but the 6 claw Tiffany setting both elevated and revealed the diamond, allowing light to enter the stone, maximising its natural fire and brilliance.A 1.54 carat Tiffany & Co diamond solitaire platinum ring with accompanying certificate stating colour and clarity as I and VVS1 sold for £7,800. The excellent clarity was complemented with the precision of cut and polish both graded as excellent. The ring came with its original box and iconic Tiffany turquoise green dust box and box.

A dreamy oil on canvas street scene by Anthony Robert Klitz (1917-2000). Predominantly a painter of city scenes, his oeuvre included extensive depictions of London streets as well as military scenes. The painting at Wessex Auction Rooms portrayed a broad city street, the Georgian buildings tapering away to nothing, with a central water fountain, cars and people going about their day-to-day life. Klitz’ style is vague and blurry and yet his artwork is decisive and defined. He experimented with light and shadow, splashes of colour, with the eye being drawn to the cars and figures in red. Measuring 49cm x 100cm the painting sold to an online bidder for £360.

The term ‘opium weight’ was first coined in the late 19th century whereas the history of opium weights can be traced much earlier, to 500AD and the Golden Triangle: Burma, Thailand and Laos. The animal-shaped weights are believed to have originally been used to weigh high value items and commodities. The weights are commonly made from bronze and cast as a lion, elephant or duck, although rarer examples of different animals can be found. The weights are raised on bases of various shapes and often have symbols inscribed to the side. A set of six bronze opium weights modelled as dragons of graduating sizes went under the hammer at Wessex Auction rooms and saw some determined bidding from the room and the internet. The successful online bidder secured the weights for £320.

An Angelus clock compendium comprising clock, barometer, calendar and thermometer, with original leather case sold above estimate. These travel desk clocks do not regularly appear on the market, so it was no surprise there was much pre-auction interest in the lot. Angelus was established as a company by watchmaker brothers Albert and Gustav Stolz in 1891 in Switzerland. The brothers won multiple awards and the popularity and demand for their products enabled them to rapidly expand. In 1937 Angelus launched its foursome compact table clock featuring an eight-day power reserve, automatic calendar, barometer and power reserve. The example sold at Wessex Auction Rooms was formed as a linear line as opposed to the original quad of four, selling for £320 to an online bidder.

Black Forest remains popular at auction with a recumbent dog drawing plenty of attention, despite missing its tail. Measuring just 22cm long it sold for £280 to a room bidder. Black Forest carvings are often mistakenly believed to be German, but it was in Switzerland during the 19th century that its roots can be traced, to a town called Brienz. Throughout the mid to late 1800s Black Forest carvings were exhibited at major exhibitions to include The Great Exhibition, London 1851; the Centennial Exhibition, Philadelphia 1876; the Chicago Worlds Fair, Chicago 1893 and the Exposition Universalle, Paris 1900. Black Forest carvings were desired by the elite and wealthy with the most detailed designs taking weeks to create.