Our June specialist auctions included an eclectic mix for all tastes and pockets; ranging from Royal-related jewellery, rare objet, and stunning art. Our well-attended salerooms were joined by over 1200 online bidders. As usual, there were some surprises across the board, and our second annual Classic Cars & Motorcycles sale also proved a great success.
Friday 17th June saw 400 lots of Medals, Militaria & Country Pursuits go under the hammer.
Highlights included this rare Fairbairn-Sykes 1st Pattern Commando fighting knife which sold for £3,300. The knife belonged to 5831068 L/Cpl J. Simpson of the Suffolk Regiment and was sold alongside his Commando Service Certificate and various photographs of L/Cpl Simpson.
This Great War group of medals, including a Distinguished Conduct Medal, was awarded to Sgt Hobbs of the Gloucestershire Regiment. Hobbs was cited in the London Gazette of May 1917 as follows:
"Near Landrecies, on 4th November 1918, when his company commander was wounded, he showed great courage and determined leadership in dealing with two hostile machine guns which were holding up the company. Upon reaching the Sambre Canal he led his company under heavy fire being the first man across the canal."
The medal group sold for £2,800
Elsewhere in the sale was a selection of ephemera lots formally belonging to Major Eric Spencer Ridley of Bury St Edmunds. A fascinating collection which included Italian Campaign aerial reconnaissance photographs many dated between September and November 1944, War Office maps of Italy and North Africa, orders marked as 'Secret', War Crimes Trial documents and much more. Collectively, the lots sold for just under £4,000.
The following day saw the Fine Art & Antiques auction.
The biggest surprise within this sale was a lovely mid-19th century Swiss music box by renowned makers Nicole Freres. A flurry of phone calls immediately after the catalogue was published informed us that we had something rare and desirable on our hands - and that the estimate of £400-600 was highly likely to be eclipsed! The box was a scarce 'variation' example and was one of only 4 made which play the same tune with four variations. Six telephone bidders across Europe and the US saw the box eventually sell for an incredible £18,000. You can read more about the box and hear it play here.
Another big name for collectors, but this time for wristwatches; this 1960s Patek Philippe Calatrava model No.3483 wristwatch sold for £18,000. Also within the Jewellery & Watches section was this stunning Boucheron platinum and diamond oblong cluster ring which made £7,000.
Despite being quite an unassuming piece, this William & Mary silver beaker was special because it is a rare example of Norwich assayed silver. Norwich had a guild of silversmiths from at least 1285, and an assay office between 1423 and 1701 when it was closed down. Norwich silver rarely comes to auction and is most often seen in museum collections. The beaker sold for £4,600.
This intricately made Austrian 19th century gilt and vitreous enamel nef ship was in remarkable condition including delicate rigging and moving parts. It bore a mark for renowned maker Ludwig Pulitzer of Vienna, and sold for £2,600.
An eclectic art section included two works by Australian-born British artist Mortimer Luddington Menpes (1855-1938) from his travels in India. They sold for £6,500 and £5,800.
A much more modern work was this oil on canvas depicting Snow on the Pennine Hills above Holmfirth by Peter Brook (1927-2009). It made £2,200.