WHITCHURCH Trevanion’s auctioneers celebrated its first auction of the year with record sales.
The auction, held on Wednesday April 14, saw many pieces exceed presale estimates.
Highlights included a mid-19th century satin birch open bookcase that sold for £ 2,800 and a Victorian pine household cabinet that sold for an astonishing £ 2,600.
Auctioneers Christina Trevanion and Ashley Jones discovered the closet when they called to assess the contents of the house and outbuildings on a Shropshire property, where they found it in the barn intended for the ‘pile of burns ” after languishing for decades.
Much to their delight, after a brief cleaning to remove years of cobwebs and bird nests, the cabinet was in high demand before being sold to an interior designer for £ 2,600.
Elsewhere in the furniture section, an unusual 19th-century Anglo-Indian camel-shaped side table sold for £ 1,900.
Furniture appraiser and auctioneer Ian Woodward said he was surprised at the success of the items for sale.
“The furniture market has thrived this year, but many of the prices obtained in the April auction far exceeded our expectations ahead of the sale,” he said.
“The awards were some of the best results I’ve seen in over a decade.
“As usual, good quality 18th / 19th century coins consistently fetch high prices, but even late Victorian and Edwardian coins, which seemed to have gone out of fashion over the past decade or so, have achieved incredible results.
“Some of our regular buyers say that the ‘boom’ we have seen for the past twelve months is due to foreclosure and the bubble is sure to burst.
“However, I think there are many factors contributing to the renewed success of the market that goes beyond the pandemic.
“Taste is cyclical – items that had gone out of fashion over the past ten to twenty years are now in high demand.
“We are seeing a trend among our audience for smaller, lighter 18th / 19th century furniture that is unusual but can be easily adapted into the modern home.
“In particular, carved furniture such as the camel table which sold for almost £ 2,000 is proving extremely popular, with many of our buyers drawing inspiration from decorative pieces of Middle East / Anglo-Indian taste.
“We are also finding that it is increasingly common for items purchased to be shipped overseas – a number of lots from this auction are sold in America, Canada and Eastern Europe.
“This can be attributed to the increasing scarcity of coins of this type of quality; furniture craftsmanship cannot be matched by modern replicas, and there are a limited number on the market.
“I think this also explains why buyers who had previously snubbed Victorian and Edwardian pieces are now reconsidering them, as the results from the older examples put them out of the average buyer’s range.”
Stepping away from the furniture section, one of the most surprising results of the day came from a 19th century jug depicting Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux, who was a famous British statesman.
The piece caught the attention of ceramic enthusiasts across the country, before selling it to a collector in the south of England for a staggering £ 2,100, although it was chipped and damaged, much to the delight sellers.
Another remarkable result came from a 19th century oil painting by William Henderson titled “11th (Prince Albert’s Own) Hussars”.
Discovered by appraiser Ashley Jones in an outhouse across the border in Wales, the painting offers viewers a glimpse into a notorious murderous battle of the Crimean War.
The painting was hotly contested by domestic and international buyers before selling it to a private military collector via a telephone offer.
Looking ahead to the year ahead, Managing Director Christina Trevanion said: “We have spent the foreclosure period undertaking a complete renovation of our beautiful and historic auction room in Whitchurch.
“It was great to welcome our customers back to our beautiful showrooms and show them that we weren’t resting on our laurels during the lockdown.
“It was wonderful that our first auction in 2021 was such a great success for our valued customers.
“We look forward to a few exciting months ahead, as our next auction will feature a magnificent collection of furniture and fine art from Ruyton Hall, an impressive country house just outside of Shrewsbury.