"One of the UK's principal Fine Art Auctioneers, with General Sales,
Fine Art Sales, Collectors Sales and Sporting Sales"
Lawrences Auctioneers in Crewkerne are delighted to announce that Alex Butcher has joined their team of specialists as a Director and will head the firm's silver department. Alex, 44, is a well known and highly respected authority in the field and has written books on silver. His love of the subject began at the age of ten when he spotted six blackened silver teaspoons in a box on Warwick market. The dealer wanted a penny each for them and Alex's keen eye rewarded him well when he sold them for £17 - over 270 times what he had paid for them - just a year later. When he left school, Alex joined that same dealer who had given him his profit as a trainee specialist. After a year of excellent tuition and a growing love of the subject he joined Phillips Auctioneers in London and remembers the delighted astonishment of a vendor when she learnt that her pair of silver candlesticks by Nicholas Sprimont had been auctioned for £195,000. Alex joined Christies in 1997 and then moved to Wiltshire to work with Salisbury auctioneers Woolley and Wallis in 2002. His particular passion is something that most of us take for granted: spoons. He is especially knowledgeable about rare and early Elizabethan spoons and once sold a private collection of just 38 lots for over £300,000. Insert quote here: "I am fascinated by silver because the hall mark was an early guarantee of quality control and the date letter relates the item to a specific year so that the historical context is better understood."
"We are thrilled to welcome Alex aboard and he brings over twenty years' of expertise with him to Lawrences," enthused the firm's managing director, Helen Carless. "We now have over 250 years' of specialist knowledge amongst our most senior valuers and we are certain that Alex will build upon our successes to make Lawrences one of the foremost auction houses outside London."
Alex's first auction will be in July and the photograph shows him holding a pair of small salvers (or "waiters"), made by Richard Carter and Robert Makepeace in 1777. They will be sold in July with an estimate of £800-1200 for the pair.
Lawrences' bi-annual sporting sale in Crewkerne attracted a wide-ranging crowd. Young and old came to look round and bid for all manner of items from bronzes and bridles to whips and watercolours. The first section of the 800-lot auction was devoted to Ralph Gilbey's collection of heavy horse harness, brasses, brass horse furniture and books. Mr Gilbey, a past President of the Heavy Horse Society, had amassed a huge selection of collars, brasses and items associated with the heavy horse such as latten bells, martingales, terrets and reins. Collectors bid enthusiastically and the collection realised over £6600. A glimpse of the variety in the remainder of sale is shown by a few of the higher prices: a monochrome print by Cecil Aldin of two dogs on ivorine made £600; Snaffles' print entitled "Prepare to Receive Cavalry" achieved a top estimate £500; a European eagle owl, mounted by Rowland Ward, sold for £1200 whilst an impressively mounted stag's head was bought for £920 (see illustration); a bronze group of a horse and jockey took £500; a cold painted bronze group of a vixen and cubs with a duck made £680; a pair of flintlock pistols were bought for £920 and a fine watercolour of the Wilton Hunt by Lionel Edwards sold on its top estimate for £6500.
Plenty of lots were more affordable and proved popular amongst the browsers and collectors: a cased set of six reverse intaglio buttons of horses' heads made £280; a Hardy Bougle fly reel surprised many when it was landed at £360; an unusual piece of taxidermy of a full mount honey badger scampered up to £360 and a delightful little ladies copper and nickel handbag pencil in the form of a hunting horn for the Beaufort Hunt was just 3.5 inches long but got away at £230.
Wednesday 6th May
The first General Sale of each month includes a Collectors Section.
Saleroom Manager, Tony Lacey, is shown here with a modest selection of items that will go under the hammer on Wednesday 6th May.
In addition to the normal General Sale items, lots include :- Model Railway Engines and accessories, Beatrix Potter Figures, Motorcycle Jackets & Helmets, Star Wars Items, Teddy Bears, Collection of Doulton Stoneware and a James Bond Poster signed by Sean Connery.
The sale starts are 9.30am, with viewing on the Tuesday 9.30am to 7.00pm.
For further details contact Tony Lacey on 01460 73041.