For those people that tune in every week to Bargain Hunt, Tim Wonnacott recently showed the viewing public the potential for a new level of profits at the auction. In a recent programme, viewers were shown two Chelsea sauce boats, cherry picked as items of interest by Mr Wonnacott, going under the hammer. Their estimate was £1,200 but eventually they went for a staggering £41,000. Until recently, the elderly woman who had owned them used them regularly for dishing up the gravy.
The pieces c.1745, were sold at Frank Marshall auctioneers in Knutsford on the 8th September this year. The auctioneers had found the sauce boats in a kitchen cupboard when asked to clear the house by the family of the elderly lady who owned them as she was moving into sheltered accommodation. These pieces apart from being English and very early, were two of only a very few examples of the early silver shape and also were interesting for their polychrome (rather than monochrome) landscape decoration similar to that of Meissen. There was substantial roughness on the handles and in passing, the inexpert would dismiss them to the poorer end of the porcelain market, but the blue triangle on the base of the pieces marked them as rare and therefore very valuable.
So when searching for antique bookcases, whether in Preston antiques dealerships, antiques fairs, charity shops or car boots, be sure not to discount any pieces reminiscent of fairground porcelain innocently displayed. They may have the magic blue triangle on the base and be worth thousands of pounds.
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