Furniture selling well? - it's 'oak'ay with us!

Early oak captures bidders' attention in Batemans' 1st May Fine Art, Antiques & Specialist Collectors Sale.

A small but perfectly formed May sale held plenty of surprises: 242 lots across the usual widely varied areas of Fine Art, Antiques and Collecting, saw the first part of a huge Royal Crown Derby paperweights collection go under the hammer, a large collection of Royal Commemorative collectables, all manner of items from various Deceased Estates, as well as collections of militaria, vintage toys and models, and of course furniture, rugs, and lighting, all get their chance to find new homes.

Batemans has held a monthly Antiques sale for the past 20 years and still is the go to Auction House in Stamford and Rutland for Sellers and Buyers alike. Decades of experience shone through as a 'masterclass' of a local antiques auction unfolded. Expertise, Skill, Quality, and an awful lot of Hard Work all combined to produce another high quality catalogue and Batemans trademark: excellent results.

Opening as ever with the Asian Art section and moving into British and European ceramics, there were no outrageous results as often happens, just an extremely solid 100% sell rate until we were already a fifth of the way through the sale! Some of the strong sellers were Part 1 in the huge collection of Royal Crown Derby paperweights - 19 Lots - which sold for a combined hammer price of £4,935 against combined estimates of £2,850-£4,350. A fantastic result for the vendor who had specially chosen Batemans to sell their enormous collection created over the last 37 years. Nearly 500 pieces have been consigned and will be sold across our May, June and July auctions!

The top seller was the final lot - this Prestige Edition paperweight, modelled as 'Long Eared Owl', limited edition 285/300, last in the series of 'The Inspired by Nature Collection', modelled by Donald Brindley, and standing at 27cm high it makes a serious impression as a 'paperweight'!.
Offered with pre-sale estimates of £500 - £800 it sold for £660 (inc 20% Buyer's Premium) 

The collection of Royal Commemorative wares had several highlights including a very large group lot selling for for £504 (inc 20% Buyer's Premium), a group of three water jugs - one of which was Sunderland lustreware - selling for £408 (inc 20% Buyer's Premium), and the best, a group of early transfer printed mugs, mostly William IV, generated a lot of interest with pre-sale estimates of £300 - £500 and went on to sell for £816 (inc 20% Buyer's Premium).


 Into the Collectables sections and bidders were keen to walk off with this unusual pair of Victorian snuff boxes. They were beautifully made to resemble a pair of lady's shoes, with inlaid and carved decoration, brass heels, and traces of silvered lining. 

 Offered with pre-sale estimates of only £100 - £150 they captured a lot of bidders hearts (or perhaps just their feet!), storming away to sell at a SEVEN TIMES mid-estimate price of £864 (inc 20% Buyer's Premium).


 A concise Militaria section, comprising mostly of a collection cap badges however had a strong finish in store. The penultimate lot was a Boer War medal and associated items which made £432 (inc 20% Buyer's Premium), and the final lot was an early 19th century 1827 Pattern British Naval Officer's naval dress sword. Offered with pre-sale estimates of £300 - £500 it sold very well for £864 (inc 20% Buyer's Premium).

The Toys section included mixed lots of model vehicles, cars and trains, a large scale model of a Spitfire, and vintage computer game equipment. A good result in this very affordable of collecting areas was, for example, this Tri-ang OO gauge 4-2-2 tank locomotive, 'Lord of the Isles', Great Western green livery, plate 3046, model R.354S, together with matching tender, both in their original boxes. They sold for double estimates at £84 (inc 20% Buyer's Premium).


The best however was indeed saved until last...

The final ten lots supplied £15,000 of value to the overall sale total! Four lots were of particular note - firstly this collection of 16th or 17th century ecclesiastical panels, which were carved from oak in high relief with polychrome decoration. The two pillar form carvings depicting male and a female figures, possibly a priest and a Pagan Goddess, each at 65cm high, and the two larger panels depicting 'Abraham & Isaac' and 'Adam & Eve', each at about 70cm high.

Offered in two lots with combined pre-sale estimates of £2,100 - £2,600 they sold for a SENSATIONAL £10,075 
(inc 20% Buyer's Premium and 5.95% Online Bidding Fees via !


 And lastly a wonderful 17th century German heavy cast iron strong box or 'Armada' chest, with working key, the lock mechanism with seven shooting bolts and three fixed, decorated with an engraved pierced frieze of four male profiles with rams horns, surrounded by leaves and heart shaped covers.
The term 'Armada Chest' does not seem to have been current before the middle of the 19th century. It presumably originates in the erroneous belief that these chests were designed to hold bullion for the financing of the Spanish Armada, and that they were subsequently washed up on our shores from the wrecked ships. The theory is negated by the fact that most examples are considerably later in date than the Armada. The chests were made in all sizes, from a few inches in length, intended for jewellery, to five or six feet in length, suitable for a banker's reserve. They served as the forerunners of the modern commercial steel safe. Large numbers were made in southern Germany, particularly in Nuremberg, from the end of the 16th century until the last quarter of the 18th century, and exported to all parts of Europe.

This particular example was last seen on the open market 35 years ago when purchased by the vendor at Christie's, South Kensington, on 13th August 1986, and still had its original invoice. It sold exceptionally well against pre-sale estimates of £500 - £800 to make £2,220 (inc 20% Buyer's Premium).


The very last lot of the sale, after a mere 3½ hours of selling was a larger than usual George III oak Welsh dresser. Normally "larger than usual" does not engender positive feeling in auctioneers, particularly when it comes to furniture, as each piece must be moved multiple times as it progresses along the selling process - one's arms and back start to feel "longer than usual" with the effort! This however was definitely worth it!

A handsome piece with inverse waterfall closed shelves to the back, four frieze drawers with nice early brass swan neck handles, arched aprons between the turned front supports, and a sizable pot shelf below. It was offered with relatively strong pre-sale estimates of £800 - £1,200, reflecting the more positive outlook on 'brown furniture' in recent times, and some fantastic competition ensued! 

It sold for £3,275 (inc 20% Buyer's Premium and 5.95% Online Bidding Fees via


The Sale as a whole sold for MORE than the combined total of the High Estimates - 120% of the combined High Estimate prices in fact, and 175% of the combined Low Estimate prices, and fewer than 10% of the lots were Unsold.

For Consistency, Accurate Descriptions, High Quality Photographs, Superior Local Service, and Proven Results - come to Batemans!


If you have any antique furniture, especially early oak, unusual or high quality stamped pieces, that you are looking to sell, please contact us on 01780 766466 or and have a look at our SELLING page.