Antiques news in Cheshire - Dinky cars (with audio)

PUBLISHED: 18:16 01 April 2010 | UPDATED: 16:45 20 February 2013

This Number 503 flat truck made between 1947 and 1954 was sold for £400

This Number 503 flat truck made between 1947 and 1954 was sold for £400

Our antiques writer casts his eye over events at local sales rooms<br/>BY CHRISTOPHER PROUDLOVE. Narration by Sandbach and District Talking Newspaper

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Nothing dinky about prices for model Foden lorries

As a cub reporter on the Sandbach Chronicle, I found myself covering stories about the towns lorry builders Foden (and its world famous brass band) almost daily.Ironic then that Im still writing about the company, founded with traction engines and steam lorries by Edwin Foden in 1856.

Foden Trucks was acquired by the American company PACCAR in 1980 and the brand was retired in 2006, but the name is kept alive not just by the fleets of vehicles still in active service, but also by enthusiasts who restore and preserve vintage and veteran models. And then there are the countless numbers of collectors who seek out Dinky models of the iconic lorries like this pair that turned up in an Adam Partridge auction in Congleton.

They came from a Knutsford home where the little boy who owned them years ago carefully returned them to their boxes every time he had finished playing with them. Tucked away in the loft ever since, they emerged still with their original boxes so important to buyers in near mint condition.

The more valuable of the two proved to be the grey Number 503 flat truck, made between 1947 and 1954, which sold for 400, twice its pre-sale low estimate. The red and green Number 501 eight-wheeler, made from 1947 to 1952, sold for 230, prices that would have staggered Edwin Foden and Frank Hornby, the Liverpool Meccano model maker who produced them.

Signs point to fairground nostalgia

Ah, Belle Vue! The memories come flooding back! Being something of a country bumpkin, I didnt get to visit the place often, but on the few occasions that I did, it somehow felt unnerving in an exhilarating kind of way to a youngster not used to the bright lights and the big city.

If memory serves, it was in the days when the place was past its best, probably around the time ownership first passed into the hands of Trusthouse Forte in the 1960s. Id have loved to have been around when the Jennison family opened the zoological gardens there.

My own collection of knickknacks includes a Victorian glass paperweight from Belle Vue showing an elephant giving rides to the public and if my research is accurate, the elephant was called Maharajah, purchased from Wombwells Menagerie in Edinburgh in 1872. Apparently, the creatures skeleton now resides in Manchester Museum. But I digress.

These two painted glass and metal cased illuminated signs were probably on active service when I visited and must have had buyers reminiscing when they came up at Manchester auctioneers Capes Dunn. One proclaims It's New, the Water Chute, while the other depicting a ringmaster and animals urges visitors to Book Here for Belle Vue Circus Winter Season. Each measuring 14 inches square, they sold for 220.

Desk had just what the market wants

Small, elegant and a quality piece fresh to the market from a private home, these are the key factors that spell saleroom success. And so it was when this charming Edwardian bonheur du jour came under the hammer at Hale auctioneers Patrick Cheyne. From a flat in Bowdon, like many of the other better items in the sale, the bijou ladys writing desk was in the Louis XV style, being veneered in kingwood and rosewood.

What set it further apart from the rest, though, was the painting depicting Venus and cherubs in a romantic setting within a rococo gilt brass border, which decorated the fall front. A retailers label attached to the underside reading Litchfields Hanway St., Oxford St. suggested it was made for the English market in about 1900, a fact not lost on the many telephone bidders and buyers in the room. A fierce battle for ownership ensued before it was knocked down to a local dealer for 3,000. He was said to have purchased it for his daughter.

All change at Tatton Park antiques fair

Its not just fine art that changes hands at antiques fairs, but the events themselves. Essex-based Robert Bailey, who has run the Tatton Park fair since the mid-1980s, has handed over the reins to Cooper Fairs, of Somerset, who will organise their first Tatton Park Antiques & Fine Art Fair on March 5-7.

The company, run by Sue Ede, also stage fairs at Buxton and Arley Hall, among others. The re-launched Tatton event will be opened by Stuart Hall, the well-known TV and radio presenter and antiquarian horologist, who opened the first fair 20 years ago.

One highlight will be a 3 million display of paintings and drawings by Manchester artist LS Lowry featuring Salford scenes and his famous matchstick men figures. All the exhibits will be for sale, with prices ranging from around 10,000 to more than 500,000. Among them will be this typical busy street scene with figures, (above) signed and dated 1953, recently on display at The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. Measuring 14 x 10, the oil is on sale for 325,000. Around 40 other specialist dealers are expected to exhibit at the fair.

Its Grimshaw oop North!

Trevor Grimshaw (1947-2001) is another Manchester artist with a unique style whose smoky views echo those by Lowry. Born in Hyde, Cheshire, Grimshaw studied at Stockport College of Art from 1963-1968, where he developed a technique of using oil paint mixed with charcoal and graphite. He used this unique process to produce atmospheric and highly detailed, mainly monochrome views which are unsurpassed at depicting the grime and smoke-filled atmosphere of Northern industrial landscapes.

He worked as a commercial artist for Stowe Bowden Ltd., a leading Manchester advertising agency, handling accounts for the Isle of Man Tourist Board, Warrington New Town Development Corporation, and Manchester Airport among others.

He died tragically in a house fire after becoming a recluse, but not before his work found its way into many private and public collections. This view, in the artists typical precisely drawn pencil, sold for 1,800 at Nantwich auctioneers Peter Wilson.

Email that produced a figural windfall

Charles Noke was born in Worcester, almost in the shadow of the famous china factory there, so it was no surprise that at aged 15, he started working there as an apprentice modeller. However, it was at Royal Doulton in Burslem that Noke was to make his name. He joined the firm in 1889, rising to the position of Chief Modeller and the man responsible for reintroducing Staffordshire figure-making. Without Noke, there would be no Doulton crinoline ladies and other figures bearing the factorys easily traceable HN numbers, now so loved by collectors.

Acclaim for Nokes modelling skills came at the Chicago Exhibition of 1893 when he produced a number of prestige figures in Renaissance style. Generally larger than the later HN series, they were made in a Doulton style of Parian porcelain, tinted an ivory or vellum shade but probably too large and expensive for widespread appeal.

Among them was this now rare Beefeater figure raising a toast to the Queen, which turned up at Leyland auctioneers Warren & Wignall. Its owner, who had no idea of its value, emailed an image of it to auctioneer Peter Warren and was subsequently rewarded, much to her surprise, with a selling price of 2,900.

Understated charm from the king of silver design

Danish silversmith George Jensen (1922-1935) is perhaps best known for his innovative handmade tableware or at least the company he founded is. Still going strong it celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2004 Georg Jensen is a global luxury brand with a network of retailers in more than 12 countries. Not bad for the son of a knife grinder with little or no business acumen.

But after an apprenticeship with a goldsmith and a period of study at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, in 1892 he embarked on a career as a sculptor and art potter. He was not successful and turned to making jewellery to provide for his growing family.

With backing from a businessman, Jensen was able to open his own workshop and taking inspiration from 16th and 17th century Scandinavian and Danish silver, the craftsman created designs which remain popular today, as countless wedding gift lists attest. Jensen silver ranges from monumental seven-branch candelabra to complete canteens of cutlery, but this delightful silver brooch is more understated.

Designed as two birds on an ear of wheat, it was bid to 240 by its purchaser, while two other brooches by Jensen quadrupled their estimates at Silverwoods of Lancashire. The auctioneer is running a charity valuation day in aid of the Army Benevolent Fund at the Queens Lancashire Regimental Museum, Fulwood Barracks, Preston, on Monday March 8 and a free valuation day at the Tea Rooms, Park Farm, Bury, on March 16.

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