Posted on: 5 August 2022

First Class Result: August 2022

We closed our summer series of auctions to a close with a triumphant sale on Wednesday 3rd August. While this month’s auction boasted a broad selection of silver, works of art and antique furniture, the star of the sale was undoubtably a single-owner collection of stamps, which sold for the handsome sum of over £18,000 including Buyer’s Premium. The vendor, a former Chinese Customs Service Officer, was an enthusiastic philatelist and had been amassing his collection, mostly composed of Chinese examples, since the 1930’s. “We discovered the collection during a routine house visit in Shropshire,” says valuer Simon Grover. “Most stamp collections are relatively low value, but we knew that the owner was a dedicated collector with an interesting history, so it definitely merited further investigation. Judging by the results, our instincts were correct!”

A China 1914-19 $20 black and yellow sold for £2000

The collection caught the attention of stamp collectors from across the globe, with bidding primarily taking place online and on the phone. The top hammer price of the day was taken by an album containing a collection of pre-1940 early issues, which surpassed a pre-sale estimate of £2000 – £3000 to make an incredible £7,500, selling to a telephone bidder from the United Kingdom. The highest hammer price for a single stamp came from a China 1914-19 $20 black and yellow, which sold for a remarkable £2000.

The stamp collection was not the only Eastern treasure to catch the eye of bidders on auction day, as a Chinese ladies silk embroidered robe sold for £3400 to a collector in Paris. The royal blue robe was richly decorated with figures, birds and flowers in polychrome, silver and gold thread. “The allure of the East has fascinated Europeans for centuries,” says Auctioneer Ashley Jones, “and over recent years we have found a surge in new and emerging millennial Chinese nationals avidly restoring their heritage. This robe was intended to be worn informally by a female courtier of the Qing Dynasty. Designs, and colours of fabric for robes of this type often vary depending on the status and importance of the individual.”

Chinese ladies silk embroidered robe sold for £3400

Other lots of note in this month’s auction originated a little closer to home, with a mid-18th century Conway Valley oak dresser catching the eye of many collectors in the furniture section. “This dresser was unlike anything I have seen before in the saleroom, a truly rare and important piece of Welsh furniture history,” says furniture specialist Ian Woodward. “This example was special for a number of reasons, primarily because it divides into three separate sections, which is quite unusual for this type of piece.

“Another interesting factor was a small, square patch on the top of the base, which at first was thought to be a repair. After some further research we discovered that it was common practice in the 18th century to cut out and replace a patch on a significant piece of furniture when a member of the owner’s family died, as a means of commemorating them. This turned what appeared to be a repair into a sentimental part of the piece’s history, which added to its appeal.” After an intense bidding battle between five phone lines and room bidders, the dresser sold to a local collector for £7500 + Buyer’s Premium.

A mid-18th century Conway Valley Dresser sold for £7500

There were further successes in the furniture section, with a George III oak and mahogany crossbanded dresser base selling for £2700, a Victorian burr walnut centre table selling to a Canadian buyer for £2200 and a George III mahogany sideboard selling for £1200. “The market has shown continued growth as we exit the summer period,” continues Ian. “It certainly seems like the more traditional pieces are in demand. We are seeing more determined bidding in the sale room – buyers are putting in the extra bid or two for something of good quality. I anticipate this will continue into the Autumn and Winter periods and I expect prices will continue to flourish.”

“As we move into the Autumn we are already anticipating buoyant September and October auctions,” says Managing Director Christina Trevanion. “Amongst the contents already consigned for the September auction is a fine and rare Violin by Charles Maucotel, which has already attracted international interest. Looking forward to October, we are excited to be selling a collection of maps from a cartophile in Shropshire, including some fine examples dating back to the 16th century. It’s going to be an exciting next few months!”

Call 01948 800202 or email to book a free, no-obligation valuation appointment.