Structurally we are slowly expanding and we would like to thank our clients for their patience with regards to the building work encroaching into the car park. We will have a lovely new reception area, consignment room, and WCs by next spring. The extension will also herald a few changes to our calendar and opening times, and possibly an in-house cafe and client waiting.
We’re happy to report that the Art & Antiques world is generally weathering any economic and political turmoil, and while some areas (such as antique brown furniture) are still in the doldrums, other areas are storming ahead. Twentieth century furniture and design is continuing to grow in popularity (and prices), while jewellery, objet, silver and watches remain strong. Victorian art is still a little out of favour, but we have achieved some excellent prices – particularly for renowned local artists; an evocative winter scene by Thomas Smythe (1825-1906) sold for £4,600 in September. The Chinese market has barely abated despite all warnings to the contrary. In fact, our highest price of 2016 was £42,000 for a Chinese enamel glazed plaque by Xu Zhongnam, one of 'The Eight Friends of Zhushan' art group.
We have sold several large single-owner collections through our auctions this year, including Devonware Pottery, Vintage Costume, Vesta Cases, and Beatrix Potter first editions (in this the 150th anniversary of her birth). We also sold a collection of Matchbox Models from the estate of Suffolk born James Walter Peck who worked for Lesney Products Co Ltd in their 1950s heyday. A goldmine for Matchbox collectors, it included many prototype, pre-production and colour trial variants of various models, with some unlisted and unseen ideas and trial models which Lesney considered releasing. Overall, the market for toys shows no sign of slowing down; in fact we held an extra sale in June due to unprecedented demand from buyers and sellers.
One of our more unusual consignments was a collection of pub sign designs by artist George Taylor. Taylor worked for local brewery Greene King and his work has hung around Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages for many years. Local newspapers as well as unusual art (& pub) enthusiasts recognised that this was a real opportunity to own a piece of art which is rapidly vanishing from our streets.
Legally, we have been watching the debate regarding the sale of ivory with bated breath. The CITES (Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species) conference began in September and we await the outcome with interest. This is an emotive issue with many salient points. While none of us wants to see the continued destruction of elephants and rhinos, we certainly don't want to hasten their demise with ill-considered laws which may push the trade underground and into the arms of illegal poachers. We also wouldn’t want to see the destruction of beautiful antiques such as the beautiful 17th century relief carving by Paul Heermann which sold for £9,200 in our June Fine Art sale.
The year ended with our triple auction event comprising Coins, Medals & Militaria, Wine, Port & Spirits, and Fine Art & Antiques auctions. These included a WWI medal group for Frederick Henry Thorndyke which sold for £10,000. Thorndyke was awarded the DCM after taking control of his battalion during the Battle of Amiens after all the officers had been killed. We also sold the MBE awarded to eccentric Cambridge fundraiser Walter ‘Snowy’ Farr, who collected funds for various charities with the aid of a menagerie of animals, a converted ice cream van and a very distinctive look! His MBE sold for £620 and will be donated to the Folk Museum of Cambridge, with Lacy Scott & Knight donating all proceeds from the sale to the Guide Dogs for the Blind association.
The Christmas alcohol sale included several cases of Chateau Lafite Rothschild from the cellars of Rushbrooke Estate (one of which sold for £4,300), amongst other fine and table wines, port and spirits. After selling 24 bottles of Macallan Royal Marriage single malt whiskies for £1500 each last year, we were glad to accept another consignment this year of 12 bottles. However, this year they sold for £2,220 & £2,400 each, proving that whisky is a very good investment choice at the moment.
Our final sale of the year was Fine Art & Antiques - and it was a cracker! Out of many excellent prices (all on our website), there were a few real stand-out lots. For example, a collection of amber necklaces sold for £25,000 (one alone made £8,400), and a pair of Meissen bird figures made £3,800. However, pre-sale interest made it clear that a rare 1960s Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner bracelet watch was the one to watch (pardon the pun), we certainly didn’t expect it to achieve £25,000!.
Overall, it’s been a very good year and there’s plenty to look forward to in 2017 – we hope that you will join us!