Sweetmeat Glasses

As I have said many times, we all love a glass of wine and within the field of glass collecting, drinking glasses have always commanded the greatest interest from enthusiasts. However there is a whole sphere of glass production which is equally as exciting and readily available to the collector.

The Georgians loved their desserts and the taking of dessert was an important occasion in its own right. The late 18th century was a time when the wealthiest members of society entertained with parties incorporating a large and varied amount of food, as well as generous amounts of wine and desserts.

Desserts may be taken with the meal or served away from the table in a kind of buffet form which could be directly after the dinner or later in the evening. The kind of treats on offer included candied fruit, marshmallows, crystallised citrus peels and almonds.

These desserts would be served in glasses on tall stems known as suckets that resemble drinking glasses. They would also be served on footed and stemmed plates and saucers known as tazzas and comports. Shorter thicker glasses with practically no stem were also used for holding jelly and ice creams. Custard cups, another variant on the jelly glass, were used for syllabub ( a creamy alcoholic sweetmeat ), egg custard and egg trifles. Sometimes all of these vessels would be presented on large stemmed salvers placed in the form of a pyramid.

These wonderful Georgian occasions and marvellous Georgian sweetmeats have provided the modern collector with an enormous wealth of collecting opportunity.

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

Goss China

Carrying out chattels valuations sees me traveling all over the region and last Saturday I was in the beautiful Cathedral town of Ripon (where £2.00 sees you safely parked for 24 hours) to visit the property of an older lady who has now gone into a home. This lady loved her Goss china, but sadly she is in the minority these days. Could this be the time to invest?

William Henry Goss was chief designer at the Spode works in Stoke-on-Trent by the time he was twenty-five, but he was not happy and decided to branch out on his own.In the 1880’s, Williams son, Adolphus, joined the company. He was no potter, but he was an ideas man with a flare for marketing. His father had been producing specially commissioned commemorative pieces bearing heraldic emblems and he saw an opportunity to expand.

Adolphus realised that such wares would make great souvenirs for the mass market who, taking advantage of increased wages, were taking more holidays and day tripping on the growing railway network. He worked his way round the country over the next 20 years making contacts until he had a network of more than 1000 local agents. Each agent was responsible for promoting their local coats of arms which could be put on up to 600 small, mass produced named models. The local agents could ask for their symbols to be placed on just about anything.

Goss also produced a popular series of hand painted buildings, known as the Goss Cottages; examples included Shakespeare’s House and Robert Burns’ birthplace. However the heraldic crested wares still made up the bulk of the company’s sales. These wares became less popular after the First World War and in 1929 the Goss family sold out to a competitor Arcadian China.

Standards slowly fell and eventually the factory closed in 1944.

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

Hummel Figures

To the collector the value of their collection is often the last thing thing they are concerned about and I have often thought that an ideal subject for a new collector would be the charming Hummel figures of children. They can be acquired at reasonable cost and they are a vast and interesting subject.

These endearing figures were developed from drawings by a Franciscan nun Berta Hummel drawn for the Goebel Company in Bavaria. Introduced in 1935 Hummel’s figures were an instant success. By the time she died in 1946 she had drawn around 600 sketches, which was enough to keep the company producing Hummel figures for decades.

Hummels from the 1950s and 1960s are the cheapest on the market. Earlier pieces, groups and larger figures are more desired and so more expensive. The more recent or common a figure is, the more vital the condition becomes in determining value.

Many of the figures are made in more than one version. For example, “Weary Wanderer” was first produced in 1949 but has been made regularly ever since. The rather rare version with blue eyes is more valuable than all the others. Also “Puppy Love” which is one of the first models to be produced and therefore rare and valuable still has a rarer and even more collectable example which faces right instead of left.

Factory marks help in dating Hummels. During the 1930s the firm used a script “Goebel” mark under a crown. After 1950 a “V” mark with a small bee was used and from 1960 the bee became further stylised as a simple dot with triangular wings.

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

Buttons

As is usual over Christmas I have gained quite a few pounds and as is usual for January I am dieting. Things, however, are not going as well as in previous years and I have had to resort to moving the button which fastens my work trousers by a number of centimetres. This in addition to causing me heartache has made me ponder the button.

Buttons have always been used for fastening and decoration. They have been discovered in Egyptian tombs and over 15,000 have been found on a Court costume belonging to Henry VIII. However button making took on a new dimension in the 18th century with Dandies sporting ornamental buttons up to 4cm in diameter and handmade buttons produced in anything even fine porcelain.

The 19th century saw the growth of mechanisation and Birmingham became the centre of the industry and exported buttons all over the globe. Metal buttons were popular for uniforms and servants’ liveries while better buttons like silver and enamelled examples were enjoyed by the upper classes. These better buttons were often detachable for laundry purposes and some came in handsome cases.

Victorian and Edwardian fashions stimulated button demand leading to special examples being made for boots, gloves and even underwear. Queen Victoria’s grief at the death of her beloved Albert stimulated the demand for mourning dress and black buttons.

The development of colourful plastic buttons happened in the 20th century.Those produced were often large with strong colours and geometric shapes common in Art Deco design. Sadly for the button producers the introduction of the zip and other boring but effective fasteners saw a decline in the demand for the button. Hold this space though as I am reliably informed by the large and vocal female side of my family that once again the button is the height of fashion. What better time to start a collection.

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

Tea Services

It is a sad fact, even in our retro loving world and even though a slight increase is perceptible, that a large percentage of tea services from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have limited value. The service which upsets many with its lack of value is the one with gilded outlines which is inscribed “genuine 22ct gold”. Sadly this cannot be scraped off and “weighed in” for scrap to give the service at least some value.

The gold used to decorate ceramics is always 22ct and it is applied by mixing and heating. One of the earliest forms was honey and gold, ground together and painted onto the article. When fired at a low temperature the result was thick and rich and could be tooled. By the 1770’s mercury gilding was taking over which led to a much thinner, more delicate result.

Had there been an enthusiastic health and safety department operating in the 18th century they would have been very busy investigating unexplained deaths of kiln workers resulting from the poisonous nature of the mercury used in the gilding process.

The other tea service which upsets people with its lack of value is the late Victorian printed and painted service. These have all been owned by a “great great” relative and are often complete,8 because they were rarely used. The reason they are worth so little is that every home had one and now few homes want one

With the resurgence of the “cup-cake” and an ever growing interest in baking and decorating cakes, cups, saucers and tea services are making a little bit of a comeback. Perhaps now is the time to start buying them again.

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

Eric Ravilious

I adore Christmas and New Year beyond measure, but I also adore getting back to work. I love the anticipation and excitement, wondering what I will see next, who I will meet next, what stories will there be to tell of 2020. In 2019 we sold a commemorative mug for the Coronation of King George VI in 1937. Coronation mugs usually make just a few pounds if we are lucky, but this one made £650. Why? Because it was designed for Wedgwood by Eric Ravilious.

Eric Ravilious was a very interesting man and his work is well worth collecting. He was born in 1903 and brought up in Sussex, where his parents ran an antiques shop. In 1919 he won a scholarship to Eastbourne School of Art and then in 1925 another scholarship to travel in Italy. I have never won a scholarship so am in awe of anyone who does, but anyone who wins two……

Returning from Italy with a glowing tan and a great deal more life experience Eric held his first exhibition of watercolour drawings in 1933 in London. He sold over 50%. His second exhibition at the same gallery in 1936 saw him sell 75%, an incredible success. During the 1930s Eric was staunchly anti fascist, so in addition to his own exhibitions, he lent work to the ‘Artists Against Fascism’ exhibition.

Eric was engaged as a war artist by the War Artists’ Advisory Committee in 1939 and between then and being lost in action in September 1942 he produced some of his best work. The body of Eric Ravilious was never recovered.

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

The process of selling at auction

With Christmas now out of the way, you’re probably due a clear out! Why traipse to the local car-boot sale and stand out in the cold when we can do it all for you….

Have you ever wondered about selling your treasured possessions or family heirlooms at auction, but have never done so before because you don’t know how to?

It doesn’t have to be complicated or daunting. Read on to follow the simple process here at Sheffield Auction Gallery…

  1. Can you bring your item(s) to us or do you require a Valuer to come to you?
    • Our Sheffield Saleroom is conveniently located just off the A61 (Chesterfield Road) at Heeley next door to the Heeley Retail Park. We have a carpark and are fully disabled accessible. If you have items of a Specialist nature, it’s worthwhile ringing us on 0114 281 6161 to make sure a Specialist Valuer is available to see you. Generally, valuation days are Jewellery on Mondays and all other items Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays from 10am to 4pm and and one Saturday per month 9am to 12pm for all items.
    • If you can’t come to us, please call 0114 281 6161 to arrange for a Valuer to come to you. Alternatively you can email us – enquire@sheffieldauctiongallery.com
    • Is there a closer location to you than our Sheffield Saleroom? We host many free valuation events around the region, please see our website to see where we are going… https://sheffieldauctiongallery.com/valuations.htm
  2. Our Valuer will initially advise whether your items are saleable, what their estimated auction value is, whether you would like to set reserves on them and finally which auction(s) they are most likely to go into. The Valuer will make all charges/fees clear to you at this point. Your items will then be securely stored in our building until the week prior to the auction.
  3. The week prior to the auction, we will send you a “pre-auction notification” reminding you that your items will be offered in the next auction, this will state the estimate/reserves you agreed with the Valuer.
  4. If your item(s) sell, we will send out a cheque to you in the post, generally 2 to 3weeks after the auction, with all charges already deducted. If your item fails to sell, we normally will re-offer them in the next suitable auction, with the original estimate halved. (You will be notified of this by a subsequent pre-auction notification as above).

See; that wasn’t complicated was it?

We have a full range of auctions through the year, which include our fortnightly Antiques & Collectables Auction, a monthly Saturday Household Auction and a range of Specialist Auctions which can be found on our website. If you have more valuable items, we also have our signature Antique & Fine Art Auction and Silver, Jewellery & Watches Auction which are usually 3 to 4 times per year.

Next time; we’ll look at the process of “buying at auction”

We hope to see you soon!

Reminiscing; continued…

Christmas is over for another year and as the tree comes down my thoughts return again to all those highlights our valuers gave me when I asked, as we used to ask our children after a holiday, “what were your best bits”.

Our man who knows more about toys than any I have met, John Morgan, has a coat which buttons up over a number of specialisms in addition to toys. One is militaria and he got very excited about a “dirty dozen watch” he sold for £12,000. So excited in fact that a special article is needed later in the month to tell its story. Sometimes, as John rightly says, it’s the vendor we fall in love with as much as the item they are selling. Like the professional aircraft engineer who in his spare time made the most amazing model engines we have ever sold. Lots like that just don’t come along very often.

A WWII Era Dirty Dozen Military Watch The Grana signed dial with Arabic numerals and second subsidiary dial in plain stainless steel case stamped W.W.W M18244 to case back to later expanding bracelet.

I have to say I love a good handbag and Janet Webster our ceramics, glass and vintage fashion specialist pointed me in the direction of one gorgeous bag we sold this year with a couple of suitcases. Louis Vuitton, with original receipts from Paris they sold for £3000. We sell quite a few wedding dresses and one this year had the newspaper cutting from “hatches, matches and dispatches” 1939 pinned to it. How wonderful.

To finish; I think everyone knows our furniture specialist Andrew Jameson. He has been studying the cabriole leg and carved knee since he was a boy. As Andrew explained furniture is in the doldrums a little, but quality will always win through. To this end he pointed me to a fabulous quality French kingwood vitrine which sold for £7000 in our last sale of the year.

What a wonderful way to sum up the year- “quality always wins through”

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

Reminiscing

The weight is slowly settling round my midriff as I sit beside the Christmas tree with vintage Port and cheese reminiscing the highlights of a wonderful year. We have so many specialist valuers these days that when I asked them for their highlights I ended up with enough copy for most of the rest of the winter.

Firstly music. Our vinyl and pop man Stephen Flintoft, whose dulcet tones many will know from his regular radio slot told me of his unbridled excitement upon discovering an LP by the little known folk duo “Fresh Maggots”. He told me of the joy he feels on the discovery of such treasures, it’s not the price, it’s the rarity. In only average condition it soared to £650. I searched it out on Spotify and it’s dreadful.

Our wonderful jewellery specialist Sarah Clark waxed lyrical about the clarity of an amazing solitaire diamond we sold for over £10,000 and how Auction is the only way to buy a diamond. She also implored me to mention how much the classic Rolex from the 1960s has increased in popularity this year, siting one we sold in December for £14,500. (It must have its box and all the papers though. A bit like full main dealer service history)

Robert Lee, again who many will know from the television, is a hard man to keep under control when sport and particularly football is mentioned. He is especially fond of a team who live and play their football in the Barnsley area. Knowing what most of their players past and present had or used to have for breakfast he singled out a goalkeeper, Harry Hough, from 1954 when they won the third division title. Each player received a medal for that honour and we sold Harry’s this year for £1,800.

To be continued………

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

If I had my way, which in my overpoweringly female household I never do, I would erect our Christmas tree the day before Christmas Eve. This is not a humbug thing, it’s because I think it is the most romantic day of the whole festivities. Looking at the dressed tree is all well and good and we all marvel at its beauty but it is the very act of securing it, lighting it and placing the decorations on it that is Christmas.

I write these words in the hope that my family may read them, be converted and next year reschedule the ceremony. I fear my efforts are in vain however as in addition to not paying attention to any words of wisdom I ever offer, non of my family ever read anything I write.

So, I write this beside a fully decorated, fully lit Christmas tree and I must admit in a joyful spirit of Christmas. As I smell the glorious scent from the needles and bask in wonderful glow from the bulbs I realise that these words will appear in the last edition before Christmas. So what better time could there possibly be to wish every single person who casts their eyes over this missive a very happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.

The year 2019 saw the Dowse dynasty increase by one leading to our Christmas spend reaching new and record heights. Likewise in the saleroom new and record heights were reached which saw us selling more Fine Art, more Antiques and more Collectables than ever.

Perhaps one or two of those collectables may turn up in one or two Christmas stockings. If they do and for some inexplicable reason you don’t like the gift, worry not, we can always sell it for you next year.

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