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Hoard of silver and gold could net family a fortune

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A hoard of silver and gold antiques that were found littering an unassuming house on the outskirts of Swindon could net relatives of the owner tens of thousands of pounds

The extensive collection, which will be auctioned in Cirencester next week, was found by the family of a Swindon man after he died. Silver and gold antiques were found around the house, in a shed, and even in cars.

The collection includes over 100 antique pocket watches, which were found in a suitcase, solid gold coins dating back to the reign of Charles II, and more than 100 pieces of silverware.

The house clearance also uncovered a large collection of ceremonial swords, bayonets and daggers, most from the Third Reich but some dating back to the American Civil War.

The collection will be sold at the Selected Antiques Sale of Moore Allen & Innocent in Cirencester on Friday, September 28.

Recalling the find, auctioneer and valuer Philip Allwood said: “When the family invited me to look at these antiques I was expecting a quantity of silver plate. I was amazed when I discovered all this very high quality silver and gold.

It was a real Aladdin’s Cave.

“Perhaps the most surprising thing was the number of antique silver salvers – trays used for carrying or serving glasses, cups and dishes by waiting staff. There were more than 30 of them.

“There were some big ones, including a 44cm Edward VIII salver by JRF & Co of London, which weighs approximately 90 ounces. That’s worth £1,200 to £1,500 alone.”

Other notable pieces include a 41cm George II silver salver, by the renowned silversmith Paul Crespin of London, which is valued at £1,000 to £1,500 and a 45cm, 80 ounce Edward VIII silver salver, made by Mappin & Webb of Sheffield in 1936, which should make between £1,000 and £1,500.

Among the standout lots in the watch collection are an 18ct gold George III pocket watch by the world-renowned James McCabe of the Royal Exchange, London, which carries an auctioneer’s estimate of £600 to £1,000, and a gold cased full hunter pocket watch by Patek Philippe of Geneva – considered the makers of the 20th century’s finest watches, which is reckoned to be worth around £800 to £1,200.

Among the collection of coins, a James II five guinea piece from 1688 and a William & Mary five guinea piece from 1692 should each make between £2,000 and £3,000 while a Charles II five guinea piece from 1668 should achieve between £1,500 to £2,000.

And while of lesser value than the silver and gold, the collection of military memorabilia is already attracting attention from specialist collectors.

There are more than thirty blades, with highlights including a dagger owned by a member of the Reichsarbeitsdienst – or Reich Labour Service – engraved ‘Arbeit Adelt’ (‘Work Ennobles’) estimated at £300 to £400 and a Nazi brownshirt dagger inscribed ‘Alles fur Deutschland’, which carries an estimate of £100 to £150.

The collection also includes an American Civil War US Navy Dahlgren Bowie bayonet, stamped 1862, which should achieve between £300 and £500.

The ‘Swindon hoard’ is just one of a number of notable collections being auctioned by the firm next Friday.

The auctioneers have been instructed to sell the remnants of the Woburn, Buckinghamshire emporium of Christopher Sykes, a well known and respected dealer in antiques.

Sykes was most famous as a dealer in antique corkscrews, and a large number will be auctioned in December, at Moore Allen’s annual vintage wine sale.

But among the Sykes collection at this sale is a collection of 16 early brass and iron candlesticks, in pairs or individual, the most interesting of which include a 19cm brass candlestick from the 1600s, (estimate £300 to £500) and a pair of 16cm wrought iron candlesticks of similar vintage, which carry an estimate of £80 to £120.

The Sykes collection also includes 13 Dutch copper and brass tobacco boxes from the 18th and early 19th century. Most are beautifully engraved, with decoration ranging from biblical scenes to hunting scenes and, in one case, an orgy – or in auctioneers’ parlance, a bacchanalian feast with figures in flagrante. A bid of £100 to £150 should secure that particular lot.

And a collection of 24 beautifully carved ivory figurines, from the 19th century Meiji period, is exciting oriental collectors.

Intricately carved, the standout lots include a pair of shibyama boxes as seated rats upon drums, which are decorated with gold, precious stones and mother of pearl and carry a estimate of £2,000 to £3,000, and an okimono in the form of a bird catcher, his delicately carved bamboo pole – measuring just shy of 40cm – snaring a bird (estimate £800 to £1,200).

The furniture section includes a late Regency rosewood and brass bound bonheur du jour lady’s writing table in the manner of John McLean, which should achieve between £3,000 and £5,000, and a three metre long elm refectory table, which is expected to achieve between £6,000 and £9,000.

And the oldest piece in the auction is a Roman carved stone altar piece, found by a farmer in Bampton in 1987 and researched by Oxfordshire County Council’s archaeological department in 1989.

The metre tall carving, depicting Fortuna, the Goddess of Fortune, is expected to achieve between £1,000 and £1,500.

For a full auction catalogue, log on to


Written by secretagentmarketing

September 19, 2012 at 8:40 pm

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