Auction Anecdote: Dec '20

Posted On: 04 Dec 2020

Well it has certainly been a year like no other at Smiths Auctions as we have tried to steer our way through all the logistical challenges thrown at us by the Corona virus. It has been a bit of a brain teaser at times trying to work out all the ins and outs of running an auction as the situation has been constantly changing around us. It seems in this latest lockdown salerooms have all adopted quite different strategies with some closing down altogether whilst others have worked around the challenges and soldiered on with exactly the same sale schedule. At Smiths we had already planned to hold the 6th November as an online only sale since the pandemic was obviously on the rise again. We were incredibly lucky to be able to hold viewings by appointment for those who wished to come on the Tuesday and Wednesday before the lockdown on the Thursday.


We were a little nervous how the sale would perform in the circumstances, but November is traditionally a particularly good month as we head towards the Christmas season. In the end we need not have worried as the sale sold incredibly well with the lockdown seeming to encourage more, rather than less bidding. The top price of the day was £5,900 paid for a fine antique French silver teapot with a charming griffin form spout and a rare set of Parisian hallmarks to the base. There were other exciting prices in the Jewellery and silver section including £2,100 paid for a beautiful Art Deco diamond ring whilst a tasteful pair of Cartier platinum and sapphire cufflinks made £1,150.

Vintage and retro items continue to perform well, and a stunning large sized Whitefriars glass ‘Tangerine Banjo Vase’ sold very well at £980 against a fairly punchy £700/£900 estimate. Another very modernist item which was a personal favourite for me was a very unusual silver gilt heavy chain necklace which sold for £760 against a £200/£300 estimate.



The necklace bore the mark of the American architect William Spratling who moved to Taxco in Mexico in the 1920’s. He became one of the founding members of a large artistic community working out there at the time and from the early 1930’s he began to design silver contemporary jewellery after a chance remark at a dinner party inspired him to make use of the huge reserves of silver which were mined in the local area. His jewellery is highly collectable today and the bold styling of this necklace shows how timeless and wearable his pieces can be even almost a century later.


Smiths' next sale will be held on the 7th & 8th January and includes a huge range of antiques and collectables as well as a good selection of stamps, coins & postcards The good news is the fully illustrated catalogue will be available online from the 18th December leaving plenty of time to browse before the saleroom opens for viewing by appointment from the 5th January. For further information please telephone 01531 851776