A most unusual belt buckle made by the Parisian jeweller and glass maker Rene Lalique sold for £19,000 plus buyer’s premium at a recent auction in North Yorkshire.  The estimated guide price was £5,000 / £8,000.   

Lalique Belt Buckle

Lalique Belt Buckle

The buckle is in the Art Nouveau style measuring 2.5” x 3” and shows a female face with flowing long hair and wearing a blue enamel headband.   

It was made by Lalique in the early part of his career and is stamped with his name.  The item attracted attention from all over the world and after brisk bidding was finally sold to a buyer from the United States. 

Lalique began his working life as a jewellery designer and by the 1890’s had set up his own workshop and become skilled at incorporating enamel and glass into his work.  It was in 1907 when he began to create beautiful perfume bottles that he made the decision to focus entirely on becoming a master glass maker. 



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During the 16th century Pomanders were used to guard against infection and the foul smell of town and city life.   Made of silver they were worn on a chain around the waist or neck.  They are often spherical in shape and measure approximately 5 to 6cms in diameter with four or six segments perforated with small holes to release the scent. 

A pomander circa 1580 which was engraved on each segment with a portrait of English Kings and Queens of the Tudor dynasty, was sold recently at an auction in Cirencester.   The estimate was £3,000 to £5,000 and it reached a hammer price of £6,500 plus buyer’s premium of 20%.  In 2013 a similar one was sold by Bonhams for £11,000. 


Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, wore a pomander and when she died in 1587 her final act was to remove it. 



A Moorcroft “Pomegranate and Poppy” pattern two-handled baluster vase, c.1910, with a deep frieze of pomegranates and panels of poppies to the neck sold for £16,000 at a recent auction in Evesham.   It was previously on the market in 1997 in a Toronto auction house where it realised £7,400.   This vase, which is 12.5” tall, is arguably the finest piece the Moorcroft factory has ever produced.

Moorcroft miniatures

Moorcroft miniatures

170 Moorcroft miniatures, all just a few centimetres tall, were also entered into this sale and proved to be the main attraction to buyers.   The majority of these diminutive pieces realised prices of £150 - £300, with some items from the James Macintyre and the early Cobridge periods selling for £500 plus.   However, some lots reached even higher prices, such as two Macintyre miniatures with rare salmon-pink ground, c. 1903/1904, going for £1,300 and £900.   Small is obviously beautiful with Moorcroft collectors!

There were also 2 Moorcroft scent bottles both dating from 1904.   A “Blue Poppy” was the smallest item in the auction (4cms long) and sold for £3,000, and a “Tudor Rose” scent bottle reached £1,600.

The market for Moorcroft has fallen a little over recent years and most of the prices realised at this auction were down on what they would have been a few years ago.  However, the top lot which was the large “Pomegranate and Poppy” vase reversed this trend as it more than doubled the hammer price it had achieved in Canada in 1997.



A quantity of 90 Vintage Star Wars Toys sold for £24,000 at a recent auction in Derbyshire. This far exceeded the estimates, for example a Return of The Jedi figure “Greedo” sold for £1,000 from an estimate of £80 - £100.

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Two figures of “Boba Fett” from the Empire Strikes Back realised £2300 and £900 respectively, the latter only reaching the lower price because of a slight bubble in the packaging. Their original estimates being £300 - £500 each. This proves that the condition of both the item and the packaging is extremely important to realise the best price.

One of the star lots of the sale was a “Tie Bomber Authentic Imperial Spacecraft” from the Empire Strikes Back and the estimate of £200 - £300 was smashed when the hammer went down at £2,100.

Star Wars toys are very sought after by collectors worldwide especially when they are untouched and in their original packaging.



Could your broken crockery be worth a fortune?

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.A blue and white teapot which was bought for £15 was cracked and broken and has sold at auction in America five years later for £575,000.

The teapot was bought by a private collector in 2016 at an auction in the West Midlands; it had a broken handle and the lid was missing.

It was later identified as the work of Staffordshire potter, John Bartlam who left England in 1763 to set up a business in America and he became the first known manufacturer of American porcelain. Experts said it is the only known Bartlam teapot to have been discovered.

The teapot had a starting price of £10,000, but the hammer finally came down at £460,000 and so with fees added on the selling price was £575,000 and The Museum of Art in New York was the buyer.


Love Among The Ruins

by Edward Burne-Jones


Drawings by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones which are sketches for his two paintings “Hymenaeus” have been purchased by the Delaware Art Museum in America. The sketches were sold for £30,000 each plus buyer’s premium at an auction in Cambridge, England.

If you are interested in Pre-Raphaelite paintings then a visit to Wightwick Manor, near Wolverhampton is highly recommended. It is an old Victorian Manor House owned by the National Trust and has a most impressive collection of Pre-Raphaelite art which was collected by the Mander Family who lived at Wightwick Manor.

The most notable of the paintings in the collection is the oil “Love Among The Ruins” by Burne-Jones which now hangs in the Great Parlour at Wightwick Manor.