Far Eastern antiques dominate first auction of Chinese new year

27th February 2018

The first Moore Allen & Innocent auction of the Chinese new year saw antiques from the Orient dominate the top hammer prices.

The top lot price of the day at the auction – held in Cirencester on Friday, February 23 – saw a cinnabar lacquered box and a cinnabar lacquered scent bottle shoot past their £100 to £150 estimate to sell for £880 to a buyer from the London Chinese market.

The bright scarlet cinnabar mineral has been used for colouring by the Chinese since the Neolithic period – although there was no suggestion these pieces were that old.

The cinnabar wares were sold as part of a mixed lot which also included a cloisonné rectangular table-top box decorated with five-toed dragons, two small cloisonné dishes, an embroidered pin cushion, and four wooden stands.

A Chinese rosewood low coffee/opium table with scrolled top – designed at just the right height on which to sit an opium pipe – achieved the third highest lot price at £680, while a mixed lot including a pair of Cantonese famille rose vases, Chinese crackleware dragon decorated vase, a Chinese famille verte teapot, and a Chinese polychrome decorated Gu shaped vase bearing a four-character Qianlong mark to base sold for £520.

Meanwhile an interesting plate, clearly designed for the European market by a Chinese artist, achieved £500. The plate depicted lovers in a scene, with a European city in the background. The clothes were distinctly 17th century European, but the facial features of the lovers were most certainly Oriental.

The plate was sold together with a Chinese polychrome decorated saucer depicting an ox and figure in a landscape, a 19th Century Chinese blue and white plate with buildings and figures by waterside, and a Chinese blue and white miniature spittoon with blue and white decoration of fishermen by water's edge.

And a late 19th Century Chinese white metal pierced bowl with four clawed dragon and stylised cloud form decoration achieved £340 while two Chinese blue and white chargers and a pair of Cantonese famille rose vases sold for £320.

Meanwhile, there was a good showing for antique and vintage clothing at the biannual textiles sale.

A box containing assorted vintage lace and silk undergarments, which had carried an estimate of £100 to £150, sold for £700. The 19th century lace was in good condition with no signs of the deterioration that is common which material of its age. The hammer price suggests the collectors markets for both lace and vintage undergarments are healthy.

To prove the point, three baskets of lace trim and netting achieved £680, while a collection of clothing including a velvet bodice with filigree work decoration and white undershirt, a black circa 1900 bonnet, and various linen and vintage clothing sold for £400.

And a late 18th or early 19th Century gentleman's linen waistcoat with embroidered decoration achieved £320, while an Irvin RAF sheepskin flying jacket, together with cap, Mark 8 RAF goggles by Halcyon, and scarf achieved £300.

In all, just under £60,000 of antiques were bought and sold at the auction. The next antiques auction at Moore Allen & Innocent is the selected antique, picture and wine sale, which will be held on Friday, March 16.