Unique piece of racing history to go under the hammer

26th July 2017

A silver-plated meat platter from which kings and queens were served race day lunches for more than 100 years will go under the hammer in the Cotswolds next month.

From around 1880, the platter took pride of place in the royal box at Cheltenham Racecourse, home of the prestigious Cheltenham Festival.

But when the royal box was demolished to make way for the £45m Princess Royal Stand five years ago, the platter was moved into storage – where it has remained every since.

And when antiques expert David Dickinson visited the racecourse with his Real Deal television show, racecourse owner The Jockey Club saw an excellent opportunity to make use of the platter one last time – by raising funds for The Injured Jockeys Fund.

“We decided to put the platter, along with a duck platter, to good use and raise funds for this very worthwhile charity,” said Regional Head of Marketing Matthew Foxton-Duffy.

“Having spent five to six years gathering dust, staff spent three days polishing the meat platter, to return it to its former glory.”

David Dickinson was certainly impressed with the platter, with its basting dishes, bread basket and dish for serving implements, standing on cabriole legs on lotus club feet covered by a large silver domed lid, describing the piece as “very grand”.

The format of Dickinson’s Real Deal sees antiques dealers offer owners a cash-in-hand sum for their antiques. The owners can decide whether to sell on the spot, or take a gamble at an auction.

Valuer and auctioneer Philip Allwood, of Moore Allen & Innocent in Cirencester, reckoned the meat platter would make between £2,000 to £3,000 at auction, and so the artefact will be offered for sale when the Real Deal team relocate to the saleroom on Friday, August 4.

“It’s a unique piece of racing history, and should appeal to both racing fans and collectors of royal memorabilia,” he said. “Given its age, it’s possible that every horse-loving royal from Queen Victoria onwards has been served from this meat platter.”

Also in the catalogue will be a circa Copeland ceramic wash set with two wash basins, chamber pot, water jug, soap dish and shaving soap dish, carrying an estimate of £30 to £50, an unusual circa 1900 pin-fire revolver with Birmingham proof marks with an estimate of £100 to £150, and a limited edition fairground themed print after LS Lowry - ‘Good Friday, Daisy Nook’ - which carries an estimate of £100 to £150.

Viewers will have to wait until the show airs in January to find out what the pieces make.