Tennis Memorabilia

Every summer as the Wimbledon Tennis Championship rolls it’s tennis balls onto our television screens once again I feel a certain nostalgia for our old family sitting room and the sight of my mother groaning, cheering and jumping up and down to her darling of the centre court Virginia Wade. 1977 was an especially good year for me as not only did it see me marry my childhood sweetheart but it also saw my mothers efforts to help Virginia on her way to victory finally vindicated as she was crowned Queen of the centre court.

Tennis despite being a relatively young game, invented in 1874 by Major Walter Wingfield, has many avid memorabilia collectors and early rackets are very sought after. From the mid 1870s and the 1930s the shape of the tennis racket changed enormously, so early examples with their asymmetrical heads can be very valuable regardless of any association with a known player. Those however associated with legendary players like Fred Perry are a true collectors dream and can attract thousands of pounds at auction.

Presentation trophies too are collectable though novelty items which reflect the popularity of the early game are also of interest. Teapots, clocks and particularly jewellery were produced, a wide range of which featured racket and ball motifs.

Wimbledon specific memorabilia is always collectable. Programmes from the 1930s and earlier are now very rare and a must for collectors. A particularly popular programme would be from the first Championship held at the present site in Church Road in 1922. Programmes before this when the club was located in Worple Road, also in Wimbledon, are extremely sought after, especially from the First Championship held in 1877, when would you believe, only 160 people attended.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items you’re thinking about offering items in auction or you simply would like a valuation, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Spode

Spode was established in 1776 in Stoke-on-Trent by Josiah Spode who wanted to set up on his own after years of working for other ceramic manufacturers. Spode is generally acknowledged as developing the first recipe for bone china. Experiments were taking place in the Spode factory from around 1796 to create fine white porcelain with a recipe containing high quantities of calcined ox-bone alongside china clay and stone; originally known as ‘Stoke China’ it was later renamed ‘Bone China’.

Josiah died suddenly in 1797 and his son, Josiah II continued his work, establishing the factory as the largest and one of the best porcelain manufacturers of the early 19th century ‘Golden Age’ of British ceramics. This included being appointed ‘Potter to the Prince of Wales’ in 1806.

As well as being recognized as creating the original bone china recipe, Spode is also highly acclaimed for the part they played in the development of transfer printing in its early days. Josiah II perfected the process of transfer printing onto earthenware, producing some of the finest blue-and-white designs ever made. Their most famous pattern is probably ‘Italian’, also known as ‘Blue Italian’ or ‘Spode’s Italian’.

The Italian pattern was first introduced in 1816 and is still produced today; it is believed to have appeared on as many as 700 different shapes across the Spode range. The origins of the classical scenes of the pattern are, unfortunately for collectors, unknown. Although many of Spode’s designs can be sourced back to pictorial scenes or prints of the time, the origins of the Italian pattern remain a mystery and despite research by many interested parties, no single Italian scene has ever been found that encompasses all the features of the pattern.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items you’re thinking about offering items in auction or you simply would like a valuation, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Chintzware

Because of the name’s similarity to the Brothers Grimm, Grimwades Ltd. always makes me think of children’s fairytales, but it is in fact the trade name for Royal Winton, which was based at the Winton Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent and was established in 1885.

The company manufactured a diverse range of tableware and decorative designs in moulded earthenware, including lamp bases, candlesticks and dressing table sets. However it was their Chintzware range of the 1930’s that caught the imagination of the collector and that is what Royal Winton is renowned for today. The pretty, affordable tableware was decorated with all-over floral patterns and produced in large quantities. Chintzware is desirable worldwide with breakfast sets and stacking tea sets being particularly popular with collectors.

There were a multitude of different designs within the Chintzware range, but “Hazel”, “Julia” and “Sweet Pea” are among the most collectable with teapots, biscuit barrels and hot water jugs being popular shapes. Restoration is unacceptable in Chintzware so it is vital to check for damage, cracks and fading as this significantly affects the price. The base of Royal Winton features an impressed mark (for shape), the company mark and a transfer printed mark of the pattern.

The “Sweet Pea” pattern, introduced in 1936, is highly sought after today. It was designed with a pale yellow or chrome tallow ground and a gold or deep blue trim enclosing pink and blue flowers. The flowers are particularly prone to fading and can appear greyish in colour.

Always remember that the value of Chintzware lies in the crisp, clear pattern, the irregular shapes and most importantly the condition.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse
Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items you’re thinking about offering items in auction or you simply would like a valuation, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Christmas Table

December is here again. Over 40 years ago for our first married Christmas the Santa on top of our tree was a yogurt carton, red paper and cotton wool and we had a lovely romantic day all to ourselves. This year the “children” are all coming with partners and grandchildren and our table will be seating sixteen (with the help of some “emergency chairs”). The same Santa will grace the tree. I imagine it will be a touch noisier than our first Christmas but we are both looking forward to it.

Thinking recently about the day my wife’s mind drifted to the table centre and mine to the subject of electroplate. I thought of all the table decorations there are for sale in all the department stores all over the country and how incredibly expensive they all are. Then I thought about all the electroplate we auction month after month and how reasonably priced it is.

A pair of polished plated candlesticks flanking a decorative epergne, or a pretty pierced bowl, or a tall trumpet vase with matching similar smaller vases, to name just a few exciting combinations. All or any would make a lovely table centre.

When Bolsover’s remarkable fuse plate was superseded by the wonderful development that brought us base metal articles plated by electrolysis, the resulting electroplated items opened up a whole new world to the purchasing public. I think that surge in plated popularity should happen again for this year’s Christmas table.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items you’re thinking about offering items in auction or you simply would like a valuation, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Toby Jugs

Many years ago, before the motor car, electricity and Strictly Come Dancing there lived a man called Henry Elwes. Henry, even amongst his closest friends, had a reputation for being miserable. He was a short, fat man with dirty lanky hair and he held a record for drinking two thousand pints of Stingo. Stingo was very strong ale, but unfortunately there are no records to say how long it took Henry to drink all those pints. It matters not, however, how long it took, the mere fact it was drunk gave Henry Elwes the nickname Toby Fillpot.

There are many claims to the origin of the Toby jug, but one of the most convincing is that it is based on poor old Toby Fillpot. This is further backed by the work of a publisher Carington Bowles, who in 1761 published illustrations of a short, fat miserable man with lanky hair poking from a tricorn hat and titled him Toby Fillpot. A few years later Toby Jugs began to emerge from pottery factories.

Shakespeare’s Sir Toby Belch from “Twelfth Night”, who in the play is portrayed as an excessive drinker, is thought by some to be the source of the famous jug, but he just doesn’t have the portly misery of Mr Fillpot.

As time passed and more jugs were made, the grim face of Toby cheered up a little, particularly in examples like “The Sailor” and “Hearty Good Fellow”. The name, though, stuck, even when famous faces such as Winston Churchill appeared on these jugs, they remained Toby Jugs.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items you’re thinking about offering items in auction or you simply would like a valuation, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Clichy Paperweights

Paperweights made during the golden era of paperweights (c. 1840-55) are hugely popular with collectors particularly those from the three important French factories: Baccarat, St Louis and Clichy.

The patterns in paperweights are made by arranging tiny sections cut from individually coloured and crafted rods or canes into a mould and then setting in clear molten glass. The more intricate the design the more skill required to execute it. This technique called is ‘millefiori’ and was used by all three factories to produce some remarkable paperweights. Paperweights were also made containing motifs such as animals or flowers and this was done by sculpting the glass over a small flame before setting. Clichy’s ribbon-bound bouquets are considered some of the finest examples ever made.

Clichy Paperweights
Clichy Paperweights

The Verrerie de Clichy at Clichy-la-Garenne, France, was founded in 1837. Clichy paperweights were never dated and few are actually signed. Baccarat and St Louis would sign their canes but Clichy only occasionally marked theirs with a ‘C’. The signature or trademark of a Clichy paperweight was the use of the ‘Clichy rose’ generally in white, pink or sometimes pale yellow or the ‘C’ scroll millefiori included in some designs, both of which were unique to Clichy.

Clichy regularly used concentric rings of millefiori in their designs as well as garland patterns sometimes encircling motifs or sulphides and they generally used more soft colours than the other French factories. Finally, Clichy paperweights can easily be identified by their weight; they were made from boracic glass rather than lead crystal making them much lighter but still retaining the clear, fine finish.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website