Smiths April Auction Report

Posted On: 26 Apr 2021 by Rita Kearsey

Smiths Auctions held their first sale for over a year with real life bidders allowed in the saleroom on the 23rd of April. Both Viewing and Bidding within the saleroom are allowed by appointment now with buyers and staff practicing social distancing and wearing masks. Smiths decided to allow up to just ten people in the saleroom at one time and with the doors open wide it gave everyone a chance to spread out and enjoy the experience.


The sale started with the ceramics section which sold well across the board but particularly decorative tea services which seem to be making a bit of a comeback. A very attractive Edwardian Royal Albert set painted with roses made £450 despite substantial damage whilst a group of 1930’s Aynsley tea ware made an astonishing total figure of £3,255. The Aynsley tea ware phenomenon is an interesting one as it has become extremely popular in Asia in recent years. The nine lots were all hotly contested, with the highest prices paid for two teacups by J A Bailey which made £520 and £540 each. The amazing thing is that the pieces are actually only printed. If you compare the prices to a Royal Worcester hand painted teacup and saucer of far superior quality it becomes obvious how trends and fashions can now be so much more important than age or quality when pricing antiques.

Following through the day excellent prices were also paid in the silver and gold section with a classic large silver George III tankard making £800 and a set of four early ‘dog nose’ forks making £500. The forks were dated 1710 and are named thus due to the protruding terminal to the handles which resembles the form of a dog’s nose. A 9 carat gold compact made £740 and a set of gold proof coins including half sovereign, sovereign and two pounds coin made £1050 – showing that gold prices are still relatively high. Even a pair of 22 carat gold wedding bands made £400 - often customers are surprised at the high prices which items of gold jewellery can make and sometimes they are not even aware that the items are gold. One Smiths customer was amazed when a necklace which she thought was brass and nearly threw away sold for over £1000. So, it’s a good time to get your eye glass out and take a look through your old jewellery boxes.

Other highlights to the sale came in the form of an 18th century oil portrait of a woman which, although unsigned, had a label to the reverse revealing she was the wife of the prominent Irish politician and philosopher Edmund Burke. He was an advocate of good morals and virtues underpinning the fabric of society and is today considered to be the father of modern Conservatism. In the end the painting was chased by three Irish telephone bidders from its £150/£200 estimate to make £1,050.

Smiths next sale includes a special section for postcards and stamps but also features a large selection of fine furniture, pictures, jewellery, silver, ceramics and collectables. Entries are invited now by appointment with the deadline for entries on 11th May. Prices have been particularly high during the pandemic and Smith’s clients have consistently been amazed by their excellent sale results making it an extremely good time to sell all those hidden and forgotten treasures. Please telephone 01531 821776 for an appointment