Saleroom Life

by Sheffield Auction Gallery

Month: February 2017

Marbles

Marbles, for generations, have been a popular collectors item. Collectors look for marbles displaying complex patterns, the more complex and colourful, the more valuable. Symmetrical
patterns and size also add a premium. Sulphides, which are clear marbles with a figural insert, are amongst the most popular Probably the most desirable marbles are handmade, mostly German, from circa 1850 until World War One. They were made from brightly coloured glass rods that created swirling patterns of colour. The different patterned marbles created are known by different names including swirls, onionskins and corkscrews.

The telltale sign of a handmade marble is the slightly rough area called a pontil mark. This is the mark left when the marble is removed from the glass rod. It is important to distinguish these from
the machine made examples coming from America after World War Two.

Machine made marbles are still very popular today, partly due to the scarcity and expense of handmade examples but also because of childhood nostalgia; many of today’s collectors played with these American marbles when they were young.

Manufacturers to look out for include Akro Agate Company, M. F. Christensen & Son and the Peltier Glass Company, but the exact value of individual marbles can vary enormously. Collectors
are also beginning to take an interest in the innovative marble makers of today, especially as the Internet auction market booms.

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

Tea Services

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.

A c.1920's Shelley China "Sunset and Tall Trees" Pattern Coffee Set.

A c.1920’s Shelley China “Sunset and Tall Trees” Pattern Coffee Set.

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,
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, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Men’s Jewellery

Until the late 18th century men actually wore as much jewellery as women, but during the early 19th century, following the lead of the popular British dandy Beau Brummell, trends moved towards
more simple clothing and minimal jewellery which was restricted to tie pins, cufflinks and rings.

The tie pin was a long decorative pin fastened to the necktie or cravat. The late 18th century examples are shorter than later ones with fairly simple designs, usually with paste or foil backed
gemstones in closed settings. Later the Victorians enthusiasm for novelty was shown in tie pin designs with sporting and hunting motifs as well as patriotic and political emblems becoming
popular.

Cufflinks were introduced in the early 19th century and were as popular amongst women as they were amongst men.The design trends generally followed those of the tiepins. The best quality
cufflinks are thought to be those produced in the early 19th century, usually 15ct. or 18ct. gold with fine detailing. Later ones had their gold content reduced to 9ct. and were mass produced. In the
late 19th century cufflinks were often sold in a sets with matching buttons and press studs.

The most popular rings worn by men were seal or signet rings, originally used for authenticating documents by impressing the seal in wax. Signet rings made before the late 19th century tended to
be set with a semi-precious stone and carved with a Coat of Arms or monogram. After the late 19th century these rings became a much simpler 9ct. gold band engraved with a monogram and mass
produced almost exclusively for the expanding middle class market.

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

Longcase Clocks

Since we stopped using the sundial to tell us when it was lunchtime the world began to produce timepieces and among them the clock. My favourite clock of all is without doubt is the Longcase
clock.

The longcase clock is the classic English clock and generally considered the finest achievement of English clock making. Longcases are a favourite amongst collectors due to the quality of both their
cases and their movements. They were produced in large quantities possibly the most widely produced English clock.

Originally longcase clocks were produced in London but by the early 1700’s the provinces gradually joined in this production and eventually even some small villages had their own clockmaker.

The long wooden case was a practical way to keep the pendulum and weights in a dust free and stable environment. Early examples were often veneered with ebony, while later examples featured
mahogany and walnut.

A Late XVII Century Walnut Longcase Clock by Jonathan Andrews London, Sold for £2,600 at Sheffield Auction Gallery

A Late XVII Century Walnut Longcase Clock by Jonathan Andrews London, Sold for £2,600 at Sheffield Auction Gallery

Movements allowed the clocks to run for eight days or a cheeper version just thirty hours. Dials were originally square but from the 1700’s arched examples were also popular and later still the
circular dial was introduced.

The most collected longcases today are the London made high quality mahogany examples, although many will argue that the early ebony cases are far more important. But then again what
about a lovely little thirty hour village made clock in a beautiful plain oak case.

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

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