In the run up to Christmas, antique dealers in Cumbria expect sales of antique desks and Victorian dining chairs to be overtaken by more festive lines – for example antique decanters which, in their boxes make superb Christmas gifts. On 6th December, one dealer in Norfolk parted with £17,500 for an 18th century mahogany decanter box and two cut glass decanters, originally estimated at £3,000- £4,000.
The auction took place at Neal Sons and Fletcher, of Woodbridge, Suffolk. An estate agent which runs auctions as a sideline, they are more used to handling antique desks and Victorian dining chairs on behalf of trustees, and don’t charge a buyer’s premium. Something they may be reconsidering on the strength of this sale.
As with any auction, the higher the interest, the higher the price under the hammer, and this lot attracted a record number of bids – despite having only two of its original four double-magnum sized decanters. While the 42 cm high, profusely cut decanters, c.1780, were special enough, it was the velvet-lined, brass-bound box which attracted attention. In mint condition, it had even retained its original castors, which bumped up the value considerably. These would have allowed the box and its contents to be moved with ease around the dinner table at a time when, in Preston, Victorian dining chairs were contemporary furniture. However, until recently their main use was as the wheels to a convenient TV stand.
As well as antique desks and Victorian dining chairs, Cumbrian antique dealers often have complete 19th century decanter boxes. They can be picked up quite cheaply, and make unusual, attractive presents.
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