Worth its weight in…….silver!
When Nick Davies went out to a routine call, little did he know the puzzle that was about to set him on a game of hide and seek! Following an instruction to conduct a probate valuation Nick went to a property in Redditch to asses the contents and produce the usual valuation document. The property however held more than a few surprises with items squirrelled away here, there and everywhere!
One of the things that revealed itself to Nick were a few pieces of ornate silver, stashed away in a series of filing cabinets! The pieces were of exquisite quality, ornately decorated with foliate scrolls, delicate legs and pierced work further added to the decoration giving the piece a high Chippendale revival style.
As Nick began to pull the pieces together it became all too clear that this was no ordinary piece of silver but the makings of a spectacular late 19th Century table centre. Sadly though it was incomplete, elements missing, pieces gone…..or so Nick thought! Not one to be beaten Nick set about scouring the house and across rooms, hidden in drawers and cupboards the pieces of the puzzle began to come together!
The final victory came when Nick found the series of little bon bon dishes wrapped in newspaper and stashed away safely in the garage!
Brimming with excitement Nick returned to work with a jumble of silver hallmarked pieces and set about laying them out, carefully putting the puzzle back together. One by one the pieces slotted in to place one after the other and the spectacular table centre rose before him!
The late 19th Century hallmarked silver pagoda epergne in the Chippendale taste had an ornate stand with four foliate pierced scroll feet supporting eight scroll arms each in turn supporting a circular swing basket and bowl, all surrounding a central pierced oval bowl with embossed foliate decoration below a conforming pagoda top supported by four cylindrical columns with climbing rose details, each terminating in a pineapple finial. Once built it stood height 64cm tall and was 86cm wide, and to add to that it came in at an eye watering 298oz in weight. Hallmarked for Sheffield 1898 it was made by Richard Martin & Ebenezer Hall. These were the height of good taste and would have adorned the dining table of a grand home, a show of wealth and style. These pieces were expensive and rare when new and the same can be said today!
When it came to auction day Nick placed a modest £6000 to £8000 pre-sale auction estimate however hopes were high! Taking to the rostrum with his usual flair he oversaw an international battle fought out in the sale room, online and via telephone bids! Opening at just £5000 the price quickly rose with bids coming from all over however it soon settled down to a battle between an online bidder here in the United Kingdom against a client on the telephone in Brazil! The telephone bidder eventually won the day and secured the piece for a hammer price of £34,500!
Nick has always had a good eye for quality and thankfully his inquisitive nature meant this wonderful piece can continue to be enjoyed for many years to come.
Posted on 2 April 2020