When John Vosper attended sales in the last half of the 20th Century he did so in a market which had a glut of other buyers, sales were a social occasion. Reserves were unheard of and lots always sold to keen collectors and buyers. His sale held at Prinknash on 11th December 2008 harked back to those days.
The publicity surrounding the sale of the collection ensured that the view days were packed affairs. Serious buyers jostled with local people curious to see what John had salted away in his Minchinhampton attic for the best part of 20 years. The results were very much as expected, some of the collection, notably the medals, postcards and silver performed strongly. However the china, glass and brassware all sold reasonably. This neatly illustrates how the market has changed in the years since John retired in the late 1980s. The rise in value of collectables such as medals and postcards has compensated somewhat for the collapse in demand for decorative household items which has been the result of increasingly minimalist fashions.
High points included a winning bid of £950 for a silver trophy cup won by Percy Lambert, the first man to cover 100 miles in an hour. The value of the silver alone had quite a value but to a collector of motor racing history it would be a real prize.
The medals included many lots of World War I interest and the section was led by a group to T W Elsdon. He began the war as a Flight Lieutenant in the RNAS and then became a Major in the RAF. The lot included the Order of St John, a fairly rare medal which helped the group to a satisfactory £700 total.
The postcards, which had been discovered in stacks teetering precariously in the attic, proved a challenge to catalogue. The prices showed that the effort was worthwhile. Some collectors spent an entire day viewing the section and many of the lots realised in excess of £200. The star lot was lot 326, two albums containing a real mixture of subjects including steam trains, ships and topography. Several sought after cards propelled bidding to £440.
Some of the unusual items in the sale summed up Vosper’s eccentric taste. The small ivory paddle with the Lord’s prayer engraved on one side and the alphabet to the other puzzled everybody but it seemed likely to be a learning aid for children. Its quality and its unusual form certainly caught the eye of more than one collector with the hammer eventually falling at £1200. Another lot that excited the collectors was a small group of doll’s house furniture. This included several early fire grates and a range cooker, the estimate was soon left behind and fierce bidding on the telephones resulted in a sale topping £2500.
The clocks were a real mixed bag with large grouped lots of 1930s mantel clocks finding buyers for as little as £10. On the other hand a mantel clock by the Goldsmiths Alliance fetched a healthy £1,300. It really was a sale with items to suit every pocket.
It was a day of much nostalgic reminiscing, several dealers told auctioneers that they recognised some of the lots from his shop 20 years ago! It was hard to believe he was not there in spirit smiling down on proceedings and he was sure to have approved when 100% of the lots found buyers.
Another white glove sale for Simon Chorley Art and Antiques.
For further information please contact Thomas Jenner-Fust on 01452 344499 or [email protected]
The Vosper Collection – from Simon Chorley Art and Antiques
Source: IONA PR