Bidders were back in the saleroom for Tennants Auctioneers’ Jewellery, Watches and Silver Sale on 27th June, when a host of online bidders were joined live in the room by an encouraging number of visitors. The large salerooms in Leyburn offered plenty of space for social distancing and the sale sold strongly with a 91% sold rate and good hammer prices throughout.
The top lot from the Jewellery section was a Georgian Emerald and Diamond Comet Brooch, which sold well above the estimate for £3,200 (plus buyer’s premium). The brooch dates from the early 19th century, when sightings of Halley’s Comet inspired jewellery makers to create these pins, which were worn as symbols of good luck.
Indeed, brooches sold well across the board, with strong prices going to a Gold and Enamel Racehorse and Jockey Brooch, which sold for £1,300 (plus b.p.), nearly ten times the estimate, and a Victorian Lapis Lazuli Enamel Brooch, which sold for £950 (plus b.p.), again well above estimate. A beautiful example of Victorian craftsmanship, the brooch combined gold bead work and a cabochon lapis lazuli surrounded by attractive pink and white enamel decoration.
Gold repeater pocket watches sold well in the sale, with buyers looking for originality and interesting movement complications. Aided by the strong price of gold, highlights included an 18 Carat Gold Minute Repeater Full Hunter Keyless Pocket Watch by John LeComber, 1877, which sold for £2,700 (plus b.p.). Collectors were also keen on pocket watches with unusual painted scenes on the dial, and many noted the fine quality of the painting on a Silver Pair Cased Verge ‘Speed the Plough’ Pocket Watch by B. Musson of Louth, 1846, which sold for £550 (plus b.p.) against an estimate of £120-180.
Wristwatches saw buoyant results too, such as a 9 Carat Gold Rolex from the 1960s selling for £1,700 (plus b.p.). Military watches continue to perform well, with a rare Longines Weems Pilots Wristwatch made in 1939 and issued in 1940 selling for £1,600 (plus b.p.).
The sale saw the continuing demand from Northern silver, with competitive bidding pushing up the hammer price and leading to a 100% sold rate for these lots. The top lot of the whole sale in fact was a Victorian Provincial Silver Table-Service from the Yorkshire Club Service by James Barber and William North of York made in 1838. The service sold for £3,800 (plus b.p.) against an estimate of £600-800, and most pieces in the service were marked with the York town mark and engraved with the Yorkshire Rose. Further highlights included a Charles II Provincial Silver Trefid Spoon made by Marmaduke Best of York in 1680 (sold for £2,200 plus b.p.), and a George II Provincial Silver Waiter made by Isaac Cookson of Newcastle in 1739 (sold for £1,100 plus b.p.).
Collectable silver continues to exert great appeal, as proved by the sale of a collection of small items by London silversmiths Sampson Morden. Good prices were seen throughout, with top lots from the collection going to a Victorian Silver-Mounted Pottery Scent-Bottle from 1887 decorated with spiders and flies (sold for £750 plus b.p.), and a group of six Edward VI and George V Silver Place-Card Holders each cast with a fish (sold for £650 plus b.p.).