Philips Auctions first decorative arts sale for 2016 in February showed pleasing results for high quality items and those with good provenance.
Four Stuart Devlin silver creations – presented many years ago by the artist to the vendor (a close friend) – sold for $3000 including buyer’s premium, more than twice the low catalogue estimate.
The 84-year-old Geelong-born gold and silversmith is famous for winning the competition to design Australia’s decimal coinage and for his appointment in 1982 as goldsmith and jeweller to Queen Elizabeth II.
While his Easter egg and Christmas box creations are now collector items, he also is revered for designing the medals for the founding awards of the Order of Australia honours system in 1975 and the 2000 Sydney Olympics precious coins.
The vendor also sold a Baccarat vase for $960 in the sale.
Although many of the traditional Chinese buyers were missing because of the Chinese New Year making it difficult to sell usually popular Asian items, sterling silver sales were very strong.
Typical was an 1863 fine, gilded sterling silver and glass figural comport made in London probably by Robert Hennell II (given that the maker’s mark is R.H.), which sold for $7200.
A Victorian 1869-70 four-piece sterling silver tea service was another shining example bringing $2160, while an 1891 Victorian sterling silver candelabrum by London’s Carrington & Co changed hands for $4320.
Porcelain was another feature with a 58-piece Royal Doulton dinner service bringing the pleasing price of $1200 – twice the upper catalogue estimate.
A Hadley’s Worcester pedestal vase showed the ongoing potential for investment in porcelain when it was knocked down for $1920.
Art results were above average with The Deserted Home by British School painter William Henry Hunt (1790-1864) bringing $1440 (almost four times the catalogue estimate) and Lionel Cowen’s (1847-1895) A young woman contemplating a canary selling for $2400 (six times the estimate).
Furniture was a big winner in this auction, particularly the cast iron garden urns which were quick to change hands.
Typical was a pair of urns on stands that sold $2040, while larger examples brought $4560 and a pair of decorative planters $1440 – all well above catalogue estimates.
The auction contained eight plan cabinets that all sold – with plans and prints from the same vendor earmarked for the next sale in March.
One of the largest, a three-section 24-drawer display cabinet, brought $4080 – but other furniture items were equally impressive.
For example, a George III mahogany bow front sideboard sold for $3000 and an early Victorian mahogany oval extension table for $5160 on an $800-$1200 estimate.
Monday night’s jewellery auction was another pleasant surprise with more than 100 room bidders keenly contesting the 202 lots on offer.
Many of the items sold well above estimate. A typical result was the impressive pear cut ruby and diamond cluster ring that sold for $16,200 on an $8500-$9500 estimate and the solitaire diamond ring that changed hands for $5160.
A large princess cut diamond bracelet was another drawcard bringing $19,800 – while an antique diamond and sapphire butterfly brooch featured on the catalogue cover sold for $4800 and an antique diamond plaque brooch for $$9000.
A top selling item was the 3.25-carat solitaire diamond ring that changed hands for $30,000.