Cheshire Life Antiques - Life in the Past Lane

PUBLISHED: 17:40 18 November 2009 | UPDATED: 16:23 20 February 2013

Our antiques writer casts his eye over events at local sales rooms<br/><br/>BY CHRISTOPHER PROUDLOVE

Hard to fit in Santas sack was this magnificent restored 1924 Bullnose Morris Cowley, registered number UU 8948, sent for sale at Chester auctioneers Byrnes by its Nantwich owner who had cherished it for the last 30 years. Behind it lay an amazing story of luck, skill, perseverance and a bit of the old cut nshut technique. The front half of the chassis, engine and bodywork back to the scuttle were discovered in November 1966 driving a saw in a quarry. The original intention was to salvage the engine only but it was soon resolved to embark on a project to build a complete car. The rear half of a Cowley chassis was found being used as a trailer and after adjusting the lengths, the two halves were welded together. Spares are still easily found and the work of collecting all the relevant parts to build a car as faithful as possible to the Oxford original began. The body was a replica built by the owner himself on the basis of close study and measurement of a 1924 production car. As far as possible, original materials were used, although the ash frame was panelled in aluminium rather than steel. The rebuild took 6 years to complete. The car got its name from its distinctive round-topped radiator, and was originally called the bullet nose. It was purchased by the grandsons of a man who was involved in the original bodywork design for that particular model who bid 6,960 for probably years of trouble free motoring to come. A 1931 Flatnose Morris Cowley sold for 3,840 in the same sale.


Supercharged bidding for car with illustrious past
Sadly, the identity of the manufacturer of this futuristic looking toy car is not known, but fortunately the record books are crammed with facts about Kaye Don and his supercharged Sunbeam Silver Bullet. Born in Dublin in 1891, speed king Kaye real name Kaye Earnest Donsky first raced motorcycles and then cars, setting many class and lap records, notably at Brooklands. In 1931, he turned to powerboat racing and set a new water speed world record in America, beating the previous 100mph set by U.S. entrepreneur inventor and speedboat builder Garfield Gar Wood by just 1.25mph. Silver Bullet was the vehicle built by the Sunbeam Motor Company of Wolverhampton for their final attempt to set a new land speed record in 1930. It had a long, sleek aluminium body, an air resistance brake, twin tail fins and two supercharged V12 engines mounted in line thats 24 separate cylinders with a total capacity of 48 litres. The car even had a tank to hold 5 cwt of ice to stop the engine from overheating, but it was beset by problems. Despite the ice, the car caught fire on one occasion and after 18 runs on the Daytona Beach, the record attempt was abandoned. It did set an American record for the flying dive miles of 151.623mph, but Sunbeam, by now facing financial trouble back home, considered it not good enough. They quit the speed race and sold the Bullet to Jack Field, a Southport hotel and garage owner. STD Motors, owners of Sunbeam, went into receivership in 1934. Altrincham auctioneers Patrick Cheyne sold the rare model for 700, the price being aided by the fact that it came complete with its original box, much to the delight of its Cheshire owner, who had expected around 200.


No confucion emerald green jade is the stuff of emperors
Confucius had no doubts about it. Jade had such a magical aura that apart from being China's most precious of stones, more precious even than silver or gold, it was also adopted as the symbol of all virtue. Exquisite and mysterious ... its flaws not concealing its beauty nor its beauty concealing its flaws - like loyalty, he says. Indestructable, translucent, lustrous and resonant, jade represented such human attributes as wisdom, purity, courage, power and immortality. It was all things to all men: Emperors carried jade sceptres as emblems of their authority, while good luck charms carved with entwined fish were given to newly-weds to bring them marital bliss.


Stockport auctioneers A.F. Brock estimated this charming carved jade pendant with overlaid decoration of 18 carat gold leaves and tendrils would sell for between 40 to 70, but within 24 hours of the lots being uploaded to Brocks online catalogue they received two bids from buyers, both in China, one exceeding 250 and the other above 300. However, on the day there was a bidding battle between a London jeweller on the telephone and a young Asian couple in the room, the latter ending up being the successful buyers, paying 515 to make it theirs. Moral of the tale? Emerald green jade, a colour of incredible depth, can fetch the highest prices. Its also said to aid high blood pressure, and to help heart and circulation problems, diabetes and kidney and bladder problems!


When shire horses ruled at Ringway
There was a time when Manchester International Airport wasnt there. Instead, all was rolling Cheshire countryside and farmland worked by horny-handed sons of toil and beasts like this magnificent shire horse. Owners of such workhorses were as proud of them as a chief executive might be today on delivery of his new company car.
Artists made a living travelling from county to county offering to paint portraits of them for posterity. So it was that John Whalley commissioned this fine portrait of Dam Of Ringway which is believed to have won a prize in a London horse show. Mr Whalley was farming at either Warburton Green, Trafford, or Oak Farm, Ringway in 1910 when the oil on canvas was painted by the peripatetic artist Albert Clarke. It was offered at Beeston, Cheshire auctioneers Wright Manley on behalf of the executors of the late Miss M Booth, Mr Whalleys great granddaughter, of Ivy Bank Farm, Hargrave, near Chester. Wright Manley were selling the farm and its entire contents, the painting adding 1,250 to the total.


From Russia with 8,400 of Christmas cheer
Nantwich, Cheshire fine art auctioneers Peter Wilson witnessed a transatlantic bidding battle when this little silver gilt beaker came under the hammer and the winner was a lady from Crewe, who couldnt believe her good fortune. She had owned the 2-inch beaker for as long as she could remember. Until recently, she had stored pencils in it, tucked away on a shelf. Her aunt had owned it before her, and she thought it was worth less than 100.
The clue to its value, however, was master Russian silversmith Carl Faberg, whose mark appeared on the base of the beaker. It was decorated in colourful enamels with the figure of a man holding a mug, surrounded by stylised flowers. What was in the mug is not known, but the toast was to the American buyer bidding by telephone who beat off another U.S. collectors attempts to secure it with a commission bid. In the end, the phone bidder beat him by one bid over the others limit, paying a staggering 8,400. Peter Carl Faberg (1846-1920) was most famous for the bejewelled Easter eggs he made for the Tsar and his family. However, he was also the jeweller and silversmith of choice for royalty, dignitaries, and the wealthy around the world. Anything bearing his mark sells for a premium.

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