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Lifting the Lid on 2019: Collectors Take a Shine to Silver Boxes...

18th January 2019

Lawrences first Fine Art sale of the year with 750 lots of silver and vertu proved to be an encouraging sign of vigour in the collectors’ market.

The sale began with a remarkable library of hundreds of silver reference books, comprising over 220 lots and spanning centuries of scholarly research. Baron Foelkersam’s `Inventory of Silver in the Imperial Palace..`, published in two volumes St Petersburg in 1907, led the selection and made £3660. The library realised nearly £35,000.

In the silver selection itself, a collection of caddy spoons made £10,750 with a 9cm example  by Liberty & Co from 1900 making just over £2000. There followed a collection of 211 pairs of sugar tongs, divided into 23 lots, that realised £6480. Later highlights included £4000 paid for an 1831 wine ewer; £3900 for a rare Charles II spice box in the form of a pocket watch, c.1670; and a rare King’s Messenger badge from 1801. Worn with pride by those select few entrusted to carry out the monarch’s business abroad, the medal realised £3400. A scarce `castletop` card case depicting Victoria College in Jersey, made by Aston & Son in 1860, made five times expectation to take £4630. A 17th-Century North German amber goblet with gilt-metal mounts had been moved out of London to safety in Surrey during the War, the better to protect it from the risk of damage. Sadly, it suffered when the Surrey store was fire-bombed but it still made £5600

However, some of the day’s top prices came in the final 78 lots when a private collection of superb silver boxes attracted keen bids and added over £100,000 to the day’s total with prices ranging from £480 to over £8000. A charming George IV silvergilt snuff box inset with a micro-mosaic plaque depicting Pliny’s Doves fluttered up to £5000 but the two top prices were paid for freedom boxes: an Irish provincial box for Cork made £6100; and another  by William Clare of Cork, 1727, made £8050. The day’s total exceeded £330,000

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