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On Monday 3rd June, Fellows auctioneers held their latest sale of Antiques & Fine Art featuring almost 800 lots. Over 700 bidders from 41 different countries registered for live bidding online, ensuring the day was a resounding success.

Opening the auction was a selection of glass and ceramics. Amongst the early successes were a Bohemian glass goblet decorated with a horse which sold at £660, and a paperweight inkwell attributed to the rare Victorian firm of Bacchus, consigned by a vendor from as far away as the Wirral, which also far exceeded expectations at £840.

The ceramics section provided one of the highlights of the day. A rare figure by the sought-after Italian firm of Lenci had been consigned from a private estate in North Manchester. The owner had purchased it for her mother at a fair some thirty years ago, and it was known in the family as ‘Angelina’. Amongst the interested bidders was the Italian author of the reference work on Lenci ceramics, but he was unable to secure it as it sold for a multiple-estimate £7,000 to a local private collector.

Oriental ceramics and works of art have proved one of Fellows strongest growth areas in recent times. The sale was strengthened by a good private Shropshire collection including some fine Chinese ceramics and jade.  Firstly, a pair of Chinese Canton famille rose vases realised £4,200 and then two further vases with covers sold for £2,200. The works of art included a lapis lazuli panel sold for £1,600, but this was eclipsed by three lots of jade: a monkey and horse group at £3,200, a group of fish at a sale-topping £13,000, a group with figure and goat in a boat at £3,000, and a pair of vases with covers sold for £6,100. On each occasion there was strong telephone bidding against commission bids and also buyers in the room. The viewing for potential bidders had been greatly assisted by the presence of a Fellows Chinese member of staff in the saleroom.

Amongst the collector’s items was a good selection of First day cover stamps amassed over several decades by the owner.  These amounted to some fifty or so albums spanning the 1960s to the Millennium, and unsurprisingly they sold well at £1,800.

Amongst the third offering from a private Wolverhampton collection of rare books was a superb two-volume work containing 18th century hand-coloured natural history prints. These topped the section at £3,400. Five other works from the same collection exceeded £1,000, and in total the collection realised over £25,000.

The picture section yielded a surprise. An oval portrait, initially offered at £600-800 a few months previously, was offered with a halved estimate – but sold well above original hopes at £2,500.

A large and diverse clock section also brought some strong results. A typical four-glass mantel clock from a Telford vendor was enhanced by having a ship’s wheel pendulum. Strongly contested by an ex Naval man and a rival on the telephone, it brought a triple-estimate £1,400. A rare Jaeger LeCoultre ‘Prestige’ model from a private Sutton Coldfield collection also fared very well, contested to £2,600.

It was highly evident to those in attendance that the furniture market was more buoyant than in recent times. Helped by two private consignments from Shropshire and Yorkshire respectively, as well as a several good local entries for Edgbaston properties, the section provided some of the most pleasing results in the sale. A good early giltwood wall mirror set the tone for proceedings with a triple top-estimate £2,100. A French vitrine cabinet also far outstripped hopes at £1,300, and a pair of Chinese armchairs fetched slightly more at £1,400.

Traditional dining suites have been less fashionable in recent times, but the trend was bucked with a good quality walnut suite of pleasing colour achieving £2,800 against hopes of less than £1,000. Many of the best pieces were kept until last and did not disappoint. A giltwood console table with mirror from the aforementioned Shropshire dispersal trebled hopes at £1,200, and walnut and marquetry side cabinet sold for £1,500 (despite a slightly bizarre conversion to house a Blu-Ray player!). A credenza or side cabinet from an Edgbaston property also trebled expectations at £2,200 even with a cracked curved glass door, and a Queen Anne style display cabinet also sold well at £2,100.

The sale was rounded off by the two best furniture lots, a lady’s tulipwood bureau  with porcelain mounts at £2,600 and a 19th century serpentine chest of drawers which, though not as desirable as its smaller 18th century ancestors, nevertheless closed proceedings at a very pleasing triple-estimate£2,900. In all the sale was one of the most successful at the saleroom in recent times and sets the tone for its impending successor, namely another good sale of antiques to be held on Monday 29th July (closing end of June), for which around 500 good-quality lots have already been consigned.

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