Lancashire collectors are often mystified by the obscure terms antique auctioneers use. However, they can take heart by the fact that even the experts can be stumped thinking up the right phrases sometimes.
At a recent Christie’s sale, an Empire amboyna, teak and mahogany antique dining table was described as “probably Netherlandish” in the catalogue. However, collectors of Dutch Empire furniture were prepared to take a chance, and the table eventually sold for £32,000 – against an upper estimate of £10,000.
In Lancashire, antique dining tables carrying the Gillows stamp often turn up at auction – as you would expect, given that the famous cabinetmaking firm was based in Lancaster. Generally, local sales can be expected to have a selection of locally-made and locally imported furniture, and this proved to be the case at Christie’s Noble and Private Collections sale, held in Amsterdam on December 13th – 14th.
Amsterdam was – and still is – a major trading port, and a fitting place to air the several pieces of oriental export furniture at the auction. They included a Japanese gilt-brass mounted lacquer antique cabinet-on-stand, made in the mid to late 17th century. With an upper estimate of £33,500, it realised £51,200, making it the highest priced item of furniture sold. English design was well represented too, with one late Victorian mahogany partners desk realising £4,400 (estimate £1200 – 2000).
Antique dealers in Lancashire cities like Preston sell Victorian mahogany pedestal desks like the one featured at Christie’s, at highly reasonable cost.
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