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Rare 18th Century Silver Wine-Jug Sells for £20,000

24th May 2021.


A rare example of an identifiable 18th century wine-jug sold for £20,000 (plus buyer’s premium) in Tennants Auctioneers’ Jewellery, Watches and Silver Sale on 22nd May, smashing the pre-sale estimate of £3,000-5,000. The George III Wine-Jug was made by Thomas Heming in London in 1765, and the pear-shaped jug is adorned with wave decoration, spiral-fluting and chased fruiting grapevines. Whilst the general shape most resembles a beer jug, the ornament clearly suggest that it was originally intended for wine. Wine-jugs were nearly indistinguishable from beer-jugs at this time, although other examples by Heming are known. Interestingly, Thomas Heming’s trade card from the 1760s to 1770s, a copy of which is held in the British Museum collection, depicts a jug which, whilst of a more baluster form, shows the same use of ornament as on the present example. The jug came with provenance from Charles William Grenfell M.P. (1823-1861), whose family owned Taplow Court in Buckinghamshire.

Silver saw impressive results across the sale, which accumulated the highest hammer total for a Silver sale at Tennants, with a strong 90% sold rate and nearly 50% of lots selling at or above top estimate. The success of the sale follows hot on the heels of the January Jewellery, Watches and Silver Sale which saw a 100% sold rate with over half of the lots selling at or above the high estimate.

Rare and unusual pieces saw competitive bidding, with good results also seen for a fine example of the work of master silversmith Omar Ramsden (sold for £6,800). The silver centrepiece-dish was made in the form of a stylised Tudor rose raised on ball and claw feet and was made in London in 1930. Also of interest is a Louis XIV or Louis XV Silver Butterfield-Dial or pocket sundial (sold for £3,000). The dial was designed to help travellers, featuring a bird-shaped gnomon (the part that casts the shadow) that adjusts to different latitudes, and the back of the dial is engraved with the latitudes of twenty-eight European cities.


Rare and collectable vintage and luxury watches sold well across the board, too, with the top lot of the section going to a rare 1953 Rolex Turn-O-Graph (ref: 6202). With good original dial and having been owned by the vendor since new, the watch sold for £12,000. Again, with a good original dial, a must for serious collectors, a rare 1967 Rolex ‘Meters First’ Submariner (ref: 5513) sold for £9,000. A very rare and early oversized Aviator’s watch made by Omega in 1915 sold well at £9,000 too. 

Cartier watches were particularly in demand, with all the lots offered in the sale performing well above estimate. The top lot was a Lady’s 18 Carat White Gold and Diamond Set Cartier Tank Americaine that sold for £6,000. Amongst a selection of pocket watches, those with unusual features and good makers’ names saw strong bidding, such as an 18 Carat Gold Open Faced Centre Seconds Pocket Watch with Power Reserve Indication made by Victor Kullberg of London in 1872 (sold for £3,200).



The top lot of the Jewellery section was a pretty and delicate Edwardian Diamond Tiara that converted into a necklace. Made circa 1900, the tiara sold for £10,000, well above the £3,000-5,000 estimate. Period diamonds were certainly in demand, with high levels of interest resulting in buoyant prices. Further highlights included a Late 19th Century Diamond Necklace with a central pear-shaped diamond that sold for £9,000, an Art Deco Diamond Bracelet made circa 1925 that sold for £4,000, a Diamond Five Stone Ring that sold for £4,800, and an Edwardian Diamond and Yellow Topaz Brooch that sold for £2,800.

The jewellery section engendered strong levels of bidding throughout, and other lots of note included an Aquamarine and Diamond Cluster Pendant with an interesting shape and a strong-coloured central stone sold for £5,500, an Amethyst Intaglio Swivel Fob depicting the spearing of Christ by Longinus sold for £3,500, and an Arts and Crafts Enamel Necklace by William Hair Haseler and attributed to Jessie M.King sold for £2,200.

The sale achieved a total hammer price of £458,005 with a 90% sold rate.


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