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‘A Feast for the eyes’, in the words of a customer, on viewing our outstanding collection of Asian Bronzes, Ceramics amongst our specially selected collection of antiques, jewellery and collectables.

“The New Botanic Garden”, two-volume first edition. SOLD £820.

Drake’s Auctions quarterly Antiques Auction, held on the 27th August was a huge success. Hosted on a bank holiday, on a fairly uninspiring late-August day, the overcast day belying the coming storm brewing in the little auction house in Tavistock. Bidders piled in before 10am, online bidders frantically registered and secured their numbers, cake & tea purchased and front-row seats quickly laid claim to for the best view in the house. Amongst the bidders, many new faces. Captured glimpses of whispers between bidders, a wink and nudge towards a vase, a knowing comment shared about a bronze statue. Had other bidders seen it? A certain electricity danced in the air, the stage was set.



Much of the excitement centred over the collection of a local gentleman, entered into auction after his passing. He was a much-loved regular of Drake’s and many other local auctions, and he will be fondly remembered and greatly missed. A long time collector of Asian ceramics, bronzes & curiosities, as well as a traveller to Asia in his younger days, his collection was hugely interesting, eclectic and much admired by many who knew him. This was important, because many of the items had never been seen on the south-west auction circuit. Much excitement is drawn around a private collection when it hits the market, and this collection would prove to be no different.


Hand painted Japanese terracotta panel, on wooden stand. Left its £100-£150 estimate in a cloud of dust. SOLD £940



Bang! Bang! Bang! The auctioneers hammer rang down. 6 lots in and it appeared that the usual 110 lots an hour may be somewhat lost in the flurry hands, phone bids & internet bids flying in from all angles. £3,000 worth of lots sold and we weren’t even in double figures yet. Was this to be a record-breaking day? Could the keenly built interest of the bidders remain all day? Was there even enough cake in Alison’s kitchen to cope?



Artwork finds the mark

Amongst the art, many pieces flew past their estimates, with bidders keen to fight over some of the original British artwork on display. However, the painting of the day belonged to Irish artist Sarah Purser HRHA (1848-1943).  Various portraits painted by Purser are held in the National Gallery of Ireland, and are not often found on the open market. ‘The Acolyte’ reached £1700 on the day. Amongst other successful sales:



Sarah Purser Titled ‘Little Acolyte’ £1700.

Lenkiewicz signed print ‘Karen in Blue’ SOLD £320

Signed Ltd Edn Lenkiewicz print ‘Anna Seated’. SOLD £240












Mary Ann Rogers watercolour of Guinea Fowl. SOLD £250

CLIVE MADGWICK RBA (BRITISH 1934 – 2005) Oil on canvas, ‘The Retrieve’ SOLD £200













Bronzes impress, bidders fight for all on display

Elsewhere in the sale, a stunning array of bronzes & brasses, mostly of Eastern origin, were fought over by many bidders, many exceeding their estimates by quite some way!

Brass & Bronze Buddha. Sold £220

Bronze Buddha. Flew past its £150 estimate, sold at £290

Bronze Pheasant. SOLD £520.














Mermaid steals the show

However, our undoubted star of the show, was the absolutely stunning bronze mermaid water feature. Much pre-sale buzz was drawn towards this lot. With several commission bids, a telephone bidder, 3 room bidders & several internet bidders, saw this lot open at £400 and end at an astonishing £2900!


As seen on the Western Morning News front page Arts & Antiques feature, many calls were received over the weekend expressing interest in this unusual figure.


With heavy verdigris, a delicate expression and wonderful detail, this outstripped our pre-sale hopes, and will be much loved in her future home for years to come.




Ceramics fly past estimates, capture rooms attention

Elsewhere, ceramics were feeling the heat of well prepared bidders online, many condition reports were requested in the lead up to the sale, with additional images & information requested from as far away as China.

Another Japanese ceramic tray, original est. £50-£80. SOLD £300

This delightful grouping of scent bottles opened at just £70, frantic bidding saw it close at an astonishing £940.

Although extensively damaged, this Japanese lidded urn fetched £380













The bar has been set, but much to look forward to for our next quarterly sale

Overall, the 27th August sale set a record for Drake’s Auctions, as our most successful sale to date, and by quite some way! The strong presence of bidders, both in the room and internationally through a network of buyers all over the world, who regularly keep in touch to see what items the small historic market town of Tavistock has unearthed this week, marks a strong statement of our intent and drive to bring quality, rare, unusual & desired items to our auction house in Tavistock, and the continued hard work of the valuers at Drake’s to find these items. This may have been the most impressive auction to date, but enquires from vendors and the continued hard work of our estate clearance team suggest there is plenty more to come from this impressive provincial auction house.


Our next quarterly Antiques & Collectables sale to be held 3rd December 2018. If you think you may have an item which may spark some interest, call or email for a free no obligation valuation. 01822 616992 / info@drakesauctions.co.uk

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