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Historical Rings put Bidders in Touch with History...

26th October 2021

Included in Lawrences recent series of Autumn sales were nearly 500 lots of silver and vertu.

There was predictably reassuring strength in traditional areas of the market: a pair of George III entrée dishes and covers from 1805 made £2250 against hopes of £1600; an engraved Victorian salver with Irish interest, 1842, made £3000, double expectations; and a good canteen of 106 pieces of George III cutlery and flatware exceeded hopes of £3000 to take £3750.

However, in a sale of silver, it is the rare or more unusual lots that attract the greater curiosity from collectors. A rare late 17th Century small flask from Malta, dating from c.1690, was in the form of a `pilgrim flask` and bore a grotesque mask on each side with scrollwork and a tulip design. This 9.5cm flask drew keen bidding from Maltese collectors and made £4500, five times its estimate.

A collection of unusual and distinctive rings made the sale’s strongest prices and showed how the demand for history, rarity and quality of design seems to remain high. A gold and enamlled ring set with a portrait of Prince Albert tripled hopes of £250 to make £750; a gold signet ring with a sardonyx stone engraved with a  coat of arms made £1250 against an estimate of £150-250; a gold ring set with a miniature portrait of the Duke of Marlborough (or possibly The Young Pretender) also raced beyond its estimate of £400-600 to take £3000 and a Jacobite memorial ring from the late 17th Century made £2375.

Two big surprises in this academic field were paid for medieval jewellery. A gold signet ring, set with a foiled glass intaglio, came from the collection of a medieval Earl of Buchan and might have been worn by his Countess, Mary Stewart in the 1430s . This soared to £11,250.  Another gold signet ring, with a pink tourmaline stone, was engraved with Royal Arms and a motto, possibly for Henry Beaufort, 3rd Duke of Somerset (1436-1464). This also made £11,250 “Jewellery has such intimate and personal associations,” observed specialist Alex Butcher. “Rings with a distinguished history and clear aristocratic connections carry an association that few other items could ever hope to match. With treasures such as this, one is truly in touch with history. We are delighted with the results that we achieved for all our vendors in this remarkable auction.” Entries for the next sale in January 2022 are invited until late November.


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