19/08/2023 General News
Most auction houses have a hierarchy of sales, holding back the very best lots – whether in terms of value, interest or rarity – for special, high-value sales. At Keys, these translate into our thrice-yearly Fine Sales, which stretch over three days. The second of these, our Summer Fine Sale, took place at the end of July.
With the advent of internet bidding, collectors and traders no longer have to be in the room to bid. That means that fine sales held in the leading provincial auction houses can now compete with auctions held by the biggest London names, because if you are a potential buyer sitting in Beijing, or New York, or Dubai, it makes no difference where the sale is physically taking place.
The result is that our Fine Sales attract bidders from all over the world. Last year we despatched sold items to over 80 different countries; Aylsham really is now a global centre for high-quality fine art antiques.
With nearly 700 lots, it is impossible to examine the sheer variety of items which went under the hammer, but people are always interested in what the sale price actually was (as opposed to the sometimes inflated estimates which some unscrupulous auction houses set in a bid to attract business), so here is just a flavour of some of the highlights.
Ceramics always play a big part in the Keys Fine Sale, and so it proved once again. The star lot was an extremely rare and important Minton Maiolica game tureen which achieved its estimate of £15,000. We had an important collection of 17 pieces of rare early 20th century Moorcroft pottery, the highlight of which was a pair of vases in the Hazeldene pattern which sold for £2,250 (estimate £800-£1,200).
Two Delft drug jars dating from around 1740 made £1,600 and £2,250 (estimates £300-£500 and £400-£600 respectively. And a large Meissen porcelain model of a heron went for £3,300 (estimate £600-£800).
Military medals are always sought after, particularly when there is an interesting human story behind them. A group of Second World War campaign medals awarded to Norfolk man Raven Cooper found strong interest, mainly because they also included the British Empire Medal he received for his life-saving heroics during the 1953 Norfolk floods. The lot sold for £1,800 (estimate £600-£800).
Two groups of medals awarded to famous botanist William Balls sold for £1,450 and £6,200 (estimates £300-£500 and £400-£600 respectively).
Jewellery attracts brisk bidding in our Fine Sales, and several lots went for five figures sums, including a 19th century diamond cluster ring which sold for £10,000 (estimate £3,000-£5,000), a cameo bracelet which sold for £14,200 (estimate £400-£500), and a late Victorian diamond necklace/brooch, which made £13,600 (estimate £6,500-£7,500).
The third day of our Fine Sales are given over to pictures, and with artists such as Seago, Munnings and Harriett Stannard and Arnesby Brown all represented, the eyes of many collectors were on the auction. The Highlights included an interesting work en grisaille by Munnings which sold for £9,000 (estimate £3,000-£5,000) and an oil painting by French artists Gabriel Deschamps which sold for £4,500 (estimate £1,000-£1,500).
Keys next Fine Sale is in November; we are already accepting consignments.