Posted on: 30 June 2022
Rare Atlases Fetch Premium: June 2022
At the heart of this month’s auction was a collection of rare atlases consigned from a deceased estate in Cheshire. Amassed by a passionate collector over a number of decades, the collection contained rare and exceptional examples dating from the 17th century.
“The market for antique atlases has completely changed over the past few years,” says valuer Simon Grover. “Even a decade ago, Atlases were bought relatively cheaply and broken up to be framed and sold as prints – there was more money to be made from them as decorative objects. As a result, it is becoming increasingly rare to find an atlas intact, which in turn has driven up the prices they achieve at auction. Discovering this very unusual collection was a delight – the owner was evidently an enthusiastic cartophile, interested in preserving these pieces rather than breaking them up for profit. He was able to buy good quality pieces at a reasonable price and kept them safe as they increased in value.”
Highlights from the collection included a 19th century copy of Tallis’s Illustrated Atlas and Modern History of the World which hammered at £2,200, Atlas of the Counties of England by C.J.Greenwood which also made £2,200, and a copy of Micheal Drayton’s Poly-Olbion dating back to 1622 which took £1,900. In total, the collection amassed £16,000 + Buyer’s Premium.
The top hammer price of the day was taken by a six-carat sapphire and diamond Art Deco ring, which took £8000 + Buyer’s Premium. The ring is the latest of many coloured gemstone rings which have brought great results Trevanion in the past twelve months, including a 5.75 carat sapphire and diamond art deco ring for £9000 and an exceptional colour-changing sapphire ring for £10,000.
“Diamonds will always hold the top spot in the gemstone market, but coloured stones are hot on their heels!” says jewellery specialist Helena Waudby. “Lots of our clients are looking for a good quality example of at least one of the ‘big three’ – whether it’s a blood red ruby, a vibrant green emerald or a dreamy blue sapphire. Some are looking for a colourful alternative to a diamond engagement ring, a fine example of their birthstone, or an exceptional specimen to add to their collection. When we enter particularly fine examples in classic settings, it always generates competitive bidding. In the coming months, I anticipate that this trend will hold, and we will continue to see excellent results for coloured gemstones!”
Elsewhere in the sale, a Regency bracket clock by renowned clock maker James McCabe of London caused quite a stir amongst collectors. Established in 1778, James McCabe quickly gained international acclaim for its fine quality time pieces, sought after by an international audience – one of the most notable clients was the notoriously punctual George Washington, who owned a James McCabe pocket watch! After a lengthy bidding battle, the clock sold to a collector in Staffordshire for £4500 + Buyer’s Premium. Clock valuer Ian Woodward commented “This Regency clock had a triple fusee movement, striking quarter hours on a nest of eight bells – not a combination that comes along very often. Despite the somewhat tired case, the signed backplate was a sure indicator of the quality of the movement. The buyer had been looking for a clock like this for quite a while and was delighted with his purchase.”
This month’s auction marked the midway point of what has been a busy year for the team. Reflecting on 2022 so far, Managing Director Christina Trevanion commented, “2022 has thrown up all manner of challenges and opportunities, and I’ve been delighted to see my team deal with both with equal aplomb! As ever we’ve had lovely feedback from our clients this year – whether they’ve been buying or selling – and it’s been great to achieve outstanding results for people who’ve entrusted their treasured possessions to us. The second half of 2022 promises to be just as exciting and dynamic as the first, and we’re looking forward to all the wonderful pieces that will come through our doors.