Auction buyers undeterred by lockdown

20th June 2020

Two sold-out private collections and a string of other high prices showed that the auction market had little to fear at Woolley and Wallis’s first sale back on 17th June.

With auction houses opening to the public for the first time in three months on 15th June, viewing for the English and European Ceramics and Glass sale had been carried out by appointment across two days, with only a handful of people attending the auction itself. The bidders, however, were undeterred by this.

“Our clients know that they can rely on our cataloguing and condition reports and so, fortunately, this gives them the confidence to buy objects they haven’t been able to handle,” explained Ceramics specialist, Clare Durham.

It seems likely, as well, that lockdown boredom combined with the cancellation of fairs and other auctions has left collectors hungry to buy. “We had far more online bidders than we would usually have,” continued Durham, “and that’s not just those who would ordinarily have been in the room. The feedback I was getting was that with their holidays cancelled and social diaries completely empty, people are spending their cash on their other hobby – collecting.”

The sale started with a small glass section that was dominated by four pieces of early Venetian glass from the de Rothschild collection at Exbury House in Hampshire. These yielded the front cover lot (lot 39) – a 16th century blue glass ewer for the Austrian market, which sold for £17,500 including premium. A private collection of delftware, consigned from the West Country, took just over £57,000 between 41 lots. A documented Bristol Adam and Eve charger dated 1755 (lot 114), sold for £8,125 with premium, despite having been broken and repaired, taking joint pole position with a fine blue dash tulip charger from the late 17th century (lot 135) which sold for the same amount.

Among the Continental porcelain, a large pair of Meissen parrots that had been in the same family for over a century found new homes with a price tag of £7,500 (lot 451), while a highlight of the English porcelain was a Chelsea crayfish salt from the mid 18th century which sold for £8,750 (lot 408).

The auctions continue at Woolley and Wallis with Fine Chinese Paintings and Works of Art, and Japanese Works of Art lined up next for 1st and 2nd July. A full revised sale calendar can be found online here, and entries are now being accepted for Autumn sales.

Click here to view full the sale results in full.

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